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THE authorities which have been principally 
relied on in compiling the following work are : 
" Le Opere complete di Galileo Galilei," edited 
(1842-56) by Professor Eugo Alberi, from the 
Galileian manuscripts and correspondence pre- 
served in the Palatine Library at Florence ; " La 
Primogenita di Galileo Galilei (1864)," by Pro- 
fessor Carlo Arduini, containing one hundred and 
twenty-one letters (also preserved in the Palatine 
Library) addressed to Galileo by his eldest daugh- 
ter, the Franciscan nun Maria Celeste, eighty- 
seven of which were first edited by Professor 
Arduini ; and u Galilee, son Proces, sa Condam- 
nation," published by M. Henri de 1'Epinois in 
the " Revue des Questions Historiques (1867)." 
This last-named work supplies, what had hitherto 
been wanting, a mass of details concerning Gali- 
leo's trial, all of the highest interest, extracted by 
M. de 1'Epinois from the original trial papers now 
in the archives of the Vatican. It has been the 
endeavor of the compiler to place before the reader 
a plain, ungarbled statement of facts ; and as a 
means to this end, to allow Galileo, his friends, 
and his judges to speak for themselves as far as 

October -$ist, 1869. 





Galileo's Birth. Family. Early Education. Studies at 
Pisa. Opposition. Hydrostatic Balance. Lecturer 
at Pisa. Departure to Padua. Correspondence with 
Kepler. Early Writings. Geometrical and Military 
Compass. Distinguished Friends and Pupils. Sa- 
gredo. Augmentation of Stipend .... 13 


Death of Galileo's Father. Family Circumstances. 
Letter of Madonna Giulia. Of Livia Galilei. Diffi- 
culties. His Brother. Letter to his Mother. 
Michelangelo Galilei's Behavior. His Sister Virginia. 
Livia Galilei's Trousseau. Michelangelo's Letter . 32 


Invention of the Thermometer. Prince Cosmo. Horo- 
scope-casting. Loadstone. Bargaining. Invention 
of the Telescope. Letter to Benedetto Landucci. 
Discovery of Jupiter's Satellites. Letter of Michel- 
angelo Galilei." Opposition. Negotiations respect- 
ing Return to Florence. Letter to Belisario Vinta. 
Quits Padua. Secret Enemies at Court. Flatter- 
ing Proposals from the Court of France. Marie de' 
Medici. Magini. Horky. Roffeni's Letter. 
Discovery of Saturn's Ring. Phases of Venus. 
Galileo's Visit to Rome. Solar Spots. Discourse 
on Floating Bodies. Opposition 43 




Marina Gamba. Bartoluzzi. Galileo's Daughters. Car- 
dinal del Monte. Abbess Ludovica. Taking the 
Veil. Benedetto Castelli. Gradual Revival of the 
Copernican Doctrine. Archduchess Christina. 
Caccini. Lorini. Denunciation. Fra Luigi Ma- 
rani. The Index. Guicciardini's Letter. Galileo's 
Defense. Interview with the Pope. Picchena's 
Warning. Negotiations with Spain. Argensola's 
Letter 75 


Galileo's Ill-health. Industry. Sagredo's Advice. 
Three Comets. Grassi the Jesuit. Stelluti's Advice. 

"II Saggiatore." Urban VIII. His Friendship 
for Galileo. Ciampoli's Advice. Ill-will of the Jes- 
uits 104 


Sister Maria Celeste. Galileo's Lost Letters. His 
Daughter's Character. The Cloistered Life. Letter 

of Condolence. Illness of Galileo His Daughter's 

Anxiety. Acts as her Father's Secretary. Poverty 
of the Convent. Domestic Details. Sister Arcan- 
gela's Illness. Her Sister's Gratitude to Galileo. 
Vincenzio's Ill-conduct. His Untoward Disposition. 

Castelli's Letter. Galileo's Visit to Rome. Sis- 
ter Maria Celeste's Preparations. Privations. Her 
Remarks on Monastic Discipline. Death of Mon- 
signor Cesarini. Interviews with the Pope. Prom- 
ise of a Pension for Vincenzio. The Pope's Letter 
of Recommendation. Cardinal Zoller's Opinion on 

the Copernican Theory. Sister Maria Celeste's Letter 109 


Galileo immersed in Study. His Daughter's Unhappi- 
ness. Illness. Bad Food. Michelangelo Galilei's 
Behavior. Galileo maintains his Brother's Wife and 



Children. His Eldest Nephew. Castelli's Com- 
plaints. Debts. Michelangelo's Arrogance- Self- 
ishness. Sister Maria Celeste's Letter. Christmas 
Gifts. Michelangelo's Excuse for his Son. The 
Brothers Quarrel. Sister Maria Celeste 111. Her 
Letter. Galileo's Illness. The Nun's Request. 
Convent Rules. Sister Arcangela. Vincenzio a 
Sloven. Quits Pisa. Idleness. Attempt to de- 
prive Galileo of his Stipend. Sickness at the Con- 
vent. Sister Maria Celeste's Advice to her Father. 

Vincenzio's Marriage. Wedding Present. Sister 
Maria Celeste's Letter. Galileo mends the Convent 
Clock 139 


Inequalities among the Sisterhood. The Mistress. Gali- 
leo's Liberality. Madness of Sister Arcangela's Mis- 
tress. Tact Necessary to enjoy Peace in a Convent. 

The Clock Wrong again. Galileo concludes the 
" Dialogue." Delays and Hindrances. Revision of 
the Work. His Daughter's Anxiety. Disappoint- 
ment at Rome. The Pope still Friendly. Gali- 
leo's Return Home. The Plague. Difficulty of ob- 
taining a License to print. Sister Maria Celeste's 
Jealousy. The Energy of the Abbess. Galileo's 
Versatility. Vincenzio's Flight to Prato Consoling 
Letter of Sister Maria Celeste. Galileo writes a Let- 
ter for the Abbess. Vincenzio's Idleness. The 
Nun's Pious Exhortations. Alms to the Convent. 
Winter Privations. Preservatives from Plague. Sis- 
ter Violante's Death. Pecuniary Anxieties. Christ- 
mas Gifts . ... 161 


Quarantine. Vincenzio's Ingratitude. Galileo finds 
Comfort in his Daughter. Donations to St. Matthew. 
Galileo's Prudence. Further Delay. Letter to 
Cioli. Death of Michelangelo Galilei. Galileo main- 



tains his Brother's Family. Employment for Vin- 
cenzio. Favors asked for the Convent. Galileo left 
Alone. The Elixir. A Change of Residence. 
Lending Money. Sister Luisa's Gratitude. Sick- 
ness of the Sisters. Galileo's Liberality Begging 

Letters. Galileo's Removal to Arcetri . . .190 


Appearance of the "Dialogue." Title. Imprimatur. 
Foresight of Paolo Aproino. Devotion of Galileo's 
Pupils. Popularity of the " Dialogue." Order for 
its Sequestration. Displeasure of the Grand Duke. 

Cioli's Dispatch. The Pope's Anger. Arrogant 
Message to the Grand Duke. Opinion of Galileo's 
Friends. Warnings from Friends at Rome. Fra 
Tommaso Campanelta. The Congregation. Trivial 
Objections. Niccolini's Opinion. Galileo cited to 
appear before the Inquisition. Journey to Rome. 
Reception by the Ambassador. Visits to Members of 
the Congregation. Orders from the Holy Office. 
The Pope's Temper. Reports in Florence >. . 206 


Pecuniary Anxieties. Vincenzio Galilei's Inefficiency." 
Custom of clothing Servants. The Garden. Illness 
and Death at the Convent. Signora Maria Tedaldi. 

Niccolini and the Pope. Niccolini's Caution. 
Galileo before the Inquisition. A Visitor at St. Mat- 
thew's. Galileo's Examination. Good Offices of 
Cardinal Barberino. Gentle Treatment. Ignorance 
of the Pope's Real Feeling. Papal Absolution. 
Kindness of Niccolini. Sister Maria Celeste's Dis- 
tress. The Plague. Galileo's Release. His Daugh- 
ter's Letter. Pious Fraud. Vincenzio's Silence . 231 


Galileo's Defense. Further Interrogation. Dissimula- 
tion of the Pope. The Sentence. Abjuration. 



Prohibition of all his Works. Niccolini's Negotia- 
tions. Galileo's Prostration Disgrace of Ciampoli 

and others. Sister Maria Celeste's Grief. Burning 

of Papers. Galileo's Arrival at Siena Rejoicing 

at St. Matthew's. Galileo's Despondency. His 
Daughter consoles him. Her Longing for his Return. 

The Garden. Her Castles in the Air. Piera's 
Message. Episode of Cloister Life. Sister Maria 
Celeste's Letter. Sickness at the Convent. Gali- 
leo's Presents to the Sisters. Presentiments. Re- 
ports of Galileo's Enemies. Return to Arcetri. 
Death of Sister Maria Celeste . . . . 252 


New Orders from Rome. The Pope a Tool in the Hands 
of the Jesuits. Rapid Decline of Galileo's Health. 
" Dialogues on Motion." Letters to the Duke of 
Peiresc and to the King of Poland. His Brother's 
Family. Discovery of the Moon's Libration. His 
Blindness. Deputation from Holland. Controversy 
with Liceti. His Declining Years. Death. Burial. 

Personal Appearance. Habits and Character . 268 






Galileo's Birth. Family. Early Education. Studies at Pisa. 
Opposition. Hydrostatic Balance. Lecturer at Pisa. 
Departure to Padua. Correspondence with Kepler. Early 
Writings. Geometrical and Military Compass. Distin- 
guished Friends and Pupils. Sagredo. Augmentation of 

GALILEO, eldest son of Vincenzio de' Bonajuti de' 
Galilei, a Florentine noble, and his wife Giulia Am- 
mannati, was born at Pisa on the i8th of Galileo's 
February, 1564. The original family sur- parentage. 
name of Bonajuti had been changed to that of Gal- 
ilei at the end of the fourteenth or beginning of the 
fifteenth century, for the purpose, it would appear, 
of perpetuating the name of a member of the family, 
Galileo, a son of Tommaso de' Bonajuti, who was one 
of the Twelve in 1343. A grandson of Tommaso, 
also named Galileo, was a celebrated physician in 
1438, at which period the Republic sent him to Piom- 
bino to undertake the cure of its ward, the young 
Giovanni d' Appiano, Lord of Piombino. He was for 
some time lecturer on medicine at the University of 
Florence, was twice elected member of the Priori, and 
in 1445 filled the office of gonfalonier. He was 


burtecf honorably in the church of Santa Croce, where 
^his ^(>m?5,J?i^l4b*of marble .with a full-length figure in 
1 bas-relief, may yet be seeti in the nave near the en- 
Gauieo>s trance - His great-grand-nephew, Vincenzio 
father. Galilei, was a man of considerable talent, 
well versed in mathematics, and the author of several 
works on counterpoint, of which some have been pub- 
lished, while others are preserved in the Palatine Li- 
brary among the manuscripts of authors anterior to 
Galileo. 1 A passage in his " Dialogue on Ancient and 
Modern Music " 2 deserves to be noted, as affording a 
clew to the manner in which he directed his son's edu- 
cation. " It appears to me," says one of the speakers 
in the " Dialogue," " that they who in proof of any as- 
sertion rely simply on the weight of authority, without 
adducing any argument in support of it, act very 
absurdly. I, on the contrary, wish to be allowed 
freely to question and freely to answer you without 
any sort of adulation, as well becomes those who are 
truly in search of truth." Sentiments such as these 
are clearly expressed in Galileo's writings, particularly 
in his famous letter to the Grand Duchess Christina 
on the Copernican System, and in the no less famous 
"Dialogue on the Two Systems of the World." 

Though of an ancient and noble stock, Vincenzio 
Galilei appears to have been always in straitened cir- 
cumstances. Gherardini says that he had intended 

1 In one of these, entitled Delia Pratica del Moderno Contrap- 
punto, is inserted a short letter of Galileo's, written while he was 
professor of mathematics at Pisa, in 1590, and the blank side 
of which Vincenzio Galilei used to continue his manuscript. 
(See page 10.) 

2 Published in 1581. 


his son to become a trader in wool, and was " only 
deterred from this purpose by the hope that Early indi- 
the talent evinced by Galileo at an early takmt. 
age would, in the long run, fit him for higher pur- 
suits. For some time, however, Vincenzio was un- 
able to provide the boy with such instruction as ap- 
peared in those days most desirable. There were no 
teachers of repute at Florence, and he could not afford 
to maintain Galileo at Pisa, where the best professors 
in Tuscany were to be found. Such instruction as 
could be had Galileo was eager to profit by. From 
his father, who was an exquisite performer on the lute, 
he learnt both the theory and practice of music with 
such success that he is said to have excelled him in 
charm of style and delicacy of touch. He was taught 
by his father to play on the organ and on other instru- 
ments ; but the lute was his favorite instrument. He 
found it a pleasure in youth, and a solace in the last 
days of his life, when blindness was added to his other 

In the sister art his talent was equally great. He 
used in later life to tell his friends that, had circum- 
stances permitted him to choose his own profession, 
he would without hesitation have elected to Love of 
become a painter. So well known was his ** a 
talent both as a draughtsman and colorist, that such 
painters as Cigoli, Bronzino, Passignano, and Jacopo 
da Empoli, did not think it derogatory to their dignity 
to invite his criticism and abide by his judgment. Ci- 
goli in particular, who was considered by Galileo to be 
the greatest painter of his time, was wont to say that 
Galileo alone had been his instructor in the art of per- 
spective, and that whatever eminence he enjoyed as a 
painter was owing to him. 


From a letter of Diego Franchi, a Benedictine of Val- 
lombrosa, we learn that Galileo was an inmate of this 
monastery during his early youth, that he was taught 
logic by one of the monks, and that his father took him 
away before the termination of his novitiate, alleging, as 
a reason, that the boy was suffering from ophthalmia. 

At the age of seventeen and a half, Galileo, already 
well versed in Latin and Greek, an excellent artist, 
studies med- and an accomplished musician, was sent to 
tcme at Pisa. s ^ U( jy medicine at the University of Pisa. 
Even then the step was not taken without difficulty, 
in consequence of his father's extreme poverty. But 
seeing that his own musical taste and erudition had 
been of no pecuniary advantage to him, Vincen- 
zio Galilei thought that probably his son would be 
more likely to make a fortune in the practice of medi- 
cine than in that of either of the fine arts. Young 
Galileo was therefore placed as a boarder in the house 
of a relative who was settled in trade, and for three or 
four years followed the usual course in medicine and 
philosophy ; in the latter, we are told, not to the sat- 
isfaction of his teachers, owing to that habit already 
learned from his father of examining an assertion to 
see what it was worth, instead of relying on the weight 
of authority for authority's sake. In consequence of 
this habit he gained the unfortunate reputation among 
the professors of being imbued with the spirit of con- 
tradiction. His eager and constant study of Aristotle, 
Plato, and other ancient authors found no favor in their 
eyes. To their narrow ideas, a philosopher only needed 
to know Aristotle by heart ; to understand him was a 
secondary consideration ; to contradict, a blasphemy. 1 

1 As an example of the strong spirit of conservatism which 

1581.] OPPOSITION. 17 

Galileo both understood and contradicted ; and 
thus arose a feeling of hostility toward him, which at 
length passed into what may be termed a traditionary 
dislike, scarcely extinguished after a long lapse of 
years, nor even then so spent but that it again be- 
came active as soon as Galileo was assailed by ad- 
verse fortune. 

The connection of the great bronze lamp in the nave 
of the cathedral at Pisa with Galileo's earliest mechan- 
ical discovery is well known. Viviani says that hav- 
ing observed the unerring regularity of the Discovery of 
oscillations of this lamp and of other swing- ium. em 
ing bodies, the idea occurred to him that an instru- 
ment might be constructed on this principle, which 
should mark with accuracy the rate and variation of 
the pulse. Such an instrument he constructed, after a 
long series of careful experiments. This invention, 
though imperfect, was hailed with wonder and delight 
by the physicians of the day, and was soon 

, V ,. 

taken into general use, under the name of 

At the time of which we are speaking, the study of 
mathematics was completely neglected in Mathemat- 
Italy. In vain had Comandino and Mau- liJfaiy. fet 
rolico endeavored to rescue the despised science 
from its unworthy obscurity ; the names of Euclid 
and Archimedes were but empty sound to the mass 
of students who daily thronged the academical halls 

reigned at Pisa, a passage in Castelli's letter to Galileo, written 
in November, 1613, may be cited: "Of our controversies (on 
Galileo's opinion in favor of the earth's motion) nee verbum 
quidem, a thing which astonishes me. Your marvelous discove- 
ries are scarcely known here even by name." 


of Bologna, the ancient and the free, of Pisa, and 
even of learned Padua. Galileo's father, undervalu- 
ing a science in which we are assured he was well 
versed, considered that the time spent in the study of 
mathematics would be so much time wasted in the 
case of one who was destined to the medical profes- 
sion. He not only abstained from teaching Galileo 
what he himself knew, but endeavored to prevent his 
obtaining knowledge from other sources, assuring him 
that it would be time enough to enter upon such a 
new pursuit when his medical studies were finished. 
But Galileo was not to be thus put off. A certain 
Messer Ostilio Ricci, who occupied the post of tutor 
to the pages of the Grand Ducal Court, was in the 
Galileo^ se- habit of daily frequenting his father's house. 
cret studies. Unknown to h i s f atherj Galileo appplied to 

him for instruction. Ricci, pleased at the youth's anx- 
iety to learn, spoke to Vincenzio Galilei, advising 
him not to combat what was evidently the natural 
bent of his son's mind. His advice so far took effect, 
that Vincenzio consented ; but Ricci was required to 
give his instruction clandestinely, lest Galileo should 
consider the paternal acquiescence an excuse for neg- 
lecting his medical studies. Finding, however, that 
his fears were soon verified, Vincenzio, after remon- 
strating in vain with his son, desired Ricci to discon- 
tinue his lessons. This was accordingly done ; but by 
this time Galileo was able to dispense with a teacher. 
With Ricci, he had not advanced so far as the end 
of the first book of Euclid. He proceeded secretly, 
wishing to attain at least as far as the forty-seventh 
proposition, then considered a famous one. So much 
being reached, he continued to study Euclid until he 


had got to the end of the sixth book, when he en- 
treated his father to cease from prohibiting a pursuit 
which gave him such infinite delight. Convinced at 
length, not only by the fact of the boy's secret studies, 
but by the rare facility with which he invented vari- 
ous new problems, that in truth his son was a born 
mathematician, Vincenzio Galilei withdrew his oppo- 
sition, and from that time abandoned all hope of Gali- 
leo making his fortune in the practice of medicine. 

It was in 1586, while studying the works of Archi- 
medes, that Galileo composed his first essay, Galileo^ 
on the Hydrostatic Balance. 1 He also made fi rsteisa y- 
some observations on the combination of metals, which, 
as well as the essay, were distributed in manuscript 
amongst his friends. He had already the reputation 
of being a bold and fearless inquirer. Some of his 
geometrical and mechanical speculations had been 
communicated to the Marquis Guidubaldo di Monte- 
baroccio, a celebrated mathematician, 2 a member of 
the noble family of Del Monte, then residing at 
Pesaro. Struck by the marks of genius displayed in 
these speculations, Guidubaldo commenced 
a scientific correspondence with their au- 
thor, which laid the foundation of a close friendship. 
At the suggestion of the Marquis, Galileo, then in his 
twenty-fourth year, applied himself to consider the 
position of the centre of gravity in solid bodies, a sub- 
ject on which Comandino had already written. His 
observations were embodied in an essay, 3 Essay on tk. 
which, though full of merit, was not printed 

1 First published in 1615. 

2 He was a disciple of Comandino. 

8 Theoremata circa Centrum Gravitatis Solidarum. It waa 


till fifty years later. During the writing of this es- 
say, Galileo, with that modesty which ever accom- 
panies true genius, more than once submitted his 
manuscript to the Marquis for correction. He also 
corresponded on the subject with Clavio, a learned 
Jesuit, 1 whose acquaintance he had made on his first 
visit to Rome, in or about the year 1587. The earliest 
letter of Galileo which is known to be extant is one 
in which he frankly states a difficulty which had arisen 
respecting the demonstration of a certain lemma ; 
those to whom he had already submitted it were not 
Correspond- satisfied, therefore he himself could not feel 
satisfied, though he had diligently sought for 
some better method of demonstrating the 
lemma, but in vain. In this dilemma, he earnestly 
asks the Father's opinion, declaring that*,**if it was un- 
favorable, he should not rest till he had found such a 
demonstration as would be satisfactory to him. 2 

Viviani says that Guidubaldo, to show his satisfac- 
tion at the manner in which Galileo had treated the 
subject he had suggested, took an early opportunity of 
introducing him to the notice of Ferdinand I., the 

published as an appendix to the fourth conversation in the Dia- 
logues on Motion, or delle Nuova Scienze, in 1638. It is said that 
Galileo proposed to Luca Valerio to publish it along with the 
work of the latter, De Centro Gravitatis Solidarum / which, how- 
ever, was not done. 

1 Cristoforo Clavio was one of the most learned mathemati- 
cians of his time- The reform of the calendar was mainly due 
to him. He wrote various works on mathematics ; died at Rome 
in 1612. 

2 Luca Valerio, with whom Galileo began a correspondence 
about 1609, declared that Galileo's genius was not inferior to 
that of Archimedes. This was indeed no slight praise from a 
man so justly celebrated as Valerio. 

1588.] LECTURER AT PISA. 21 

reigning Grand Duke, and Don Giovanni, natural 
son of Cosmo de' Medici. He adds that Galileo was 
soon admitted to the intimacy of both these illustrious 
personages, and that the Grand Duke, to mark his 
sense of Galileo's merit, appointed him, unsolicited, 1 
to the mathematical chair at Pisa as soon as a vacancy 
occurred. Had the Grand Duke done so, it would 
have been as great an honor to himself as to Galileo. 
That the professorship was only obtained Di flic U u in 
after much solicitation, is evident on a peru- obtaining 

r fits profes- 

sal of Galileo's letter of the i6th of July, *orskip. 
1588, in which he ^egs the Marquis Guidubaldo to in- 
tercede in his favor with the Grand Duke, to obtain, 
if possible, the revival of the mathematical professor- 
ship of Florence, as he despaired of ever getting that 
of Pisa. 2 By the joint representations of the Marquis 
and his brother, Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte, 
the professorship at Pisa was awarded to him the year 
after, though with no better stipend than sixty crowns 8 

1 Di proprio moto. 

2 " My wish regarding Pisa, about which I wrote your lord- 
ship, will not be carried out; for I hear that a certain monk, 
who lectured there formerly, and then, on being made general 
of his order, gave it up, has resigned the generalship, and has 
taken to lecturing again ; and that his Highness has already 
appointed him to be lecturer. But as here in Florence there 
was in times past a professorship of mathematics, instituted by 
Grand Duke Cosmo, which many among the nobles would will- 
ingly see revived, I have petitioned for it, and hope to obtain 
it through your illustrious brother's interest, to whom I have 
entrusted my petition. As there have been foreigners here with 
whom his Highness has been engaged, I have not been able to 
speak on the subject myself, and therefore beg you to write again 
and mention my name." 

8 Sixty crowns, or scudi Tuscan, per annum is about lod. per 


yearly, which was probably thought sufficient for a 
mathematician of barely twenty-six years of age. 1 
Galileo was at this period already a member of the 
Baccio Va- Academy of Florence. In 1587 or 1588 he 
l dent P f e tt h ad been chosen by the President, Baccio 
Valori, to lecture on the" Inferno" of Dante, 
a f ac f- w hich shows that even at that early 
age his reputation as a literary connoisseur must have 
at least equaled, if not exceeded, his reputation as a 
bold mathematician ; since Baccio Valori was an ar- 
dent admirer of Dante, 2 and would naturally make 
choice of the most competent member of the society 
to discourse on a poem which for grandeur and diffi- 
culty of elucidation knows no equal. 

During the time Galileo remained at Pisa, the only 
friend he had among the professors was Jacopo Maz- 
zoni, a man of vast erudition and enlightened views, 
who had been appointed to the chair of philosophy 
the year before Galileo's own appointment took place. 
With this notable exception, the whole body of pro- 
fessors was hostile to him. They, as well as the heads 
of the University, were stanch Aristotelians. They 
had not forgotten the boy's refusal to be silenced by 

1 It is asserted, on the faith of a short letter from Galileo to 
his father, written November I5th, 1590, that he endeavored to 
eke out his scanty stipend by practicing as a physician. This 
letter refers to the works of Galen, of which he says he only 
requires seven volumes. It exists in Vincenzio Galilei's unpub- 
lished MS. Delia Pratica del Moderno Contrappunto ; he having 
used the blank side of his son's letter to continue his MS. 

2 These lectures are two in number. The manuscript was, 
till within the last few years, in the Valori Library, the owner of 
which was unconscious of possessing such a treasure. They ara 
entitled On the Site and Measure of the Inferno of Dante. 


a text of Aristotle; they could not forgive the mar> 
who, daring to see and think for himself, sacrilegiously 
put Aristotle to the test and found him wanting. It is 
true that this had been done before by Nizzoli, Bene- 
detto, and Leonardo da Vinci j 1 but Galileo was the 
first who taught the contrary opinion publicly and per- 
sistently. These men had written, had said their say, 
and had satisfied their consciences. Galileo, not con- 
tent with seeing and knowing himself, would have all 
Pisa see and know too. From the top of the Leaning 
Tower of Pisa a blow was struck at the Aris- Expert- 

,. , ... , - , . , ments on the 

totehan philosophy irom which it never re- velocity of 
covered. Galileo might have written and foJSf. 
lectured against Aristotle's theory of motion with im- 
punity, but that he should provide the city with ocu- 
lar demonstration of the falsity of the ancient theory, 
and the truth of the new, was an innovation as danger- 
ous as it was powerful. 

The cabal, formed by the followers of the old 
school, was before long strengthened by the Cabal 
adherence of Don Giovanni de' Medici, then ^^ d 
governor of the port of Leghorn. This per- Peripatetics. 
sonage, having taken offense at the freedom with which 
Galileo had expressed his opinion on a hydraulic 
machine by which he had proposed to empty the wet 
dock at Leghorn, resolved to do all in his power to 

1 In his Lives of the Painters, Vasari thus disposes, in a few 
contemptuous lines, of Leonardo's claims to the title of philoso- 
pher : " So many were his caprices, that he would e'en philos- 
ophize on the phenomena of nature, claiming to understand their 
secret properties, and observing the motions of the heavens, and 
the body of the moon, and the going forth of the sun. And his 
soul being thus filled with heretical conceit, he esteemed it better 
to be styled philosopher than Christian." 


ruin the young professor. That the complete failure 
of his invention illustrated the soundness of Galileo's 
judgment was but an additional blow to his pride, and 
an additional reason for hating the man who had dared 
to speak the truth. Fearing that the resentment of the 
Galileo re- mortified governor would result in Galileo's 
p^anfro- disgrace, Guidubaldo advised him to resign 
fessorship. ^ Q professorship of Pisa while he had it in 
his power to do so. Galileo had had some thought of 
soliciting a professorship at Bologna, but Guidubaldo 
dissuaded him from this idea, and not only proposed 
but obtained for him the mathematical professorship 
of Padua, whither he removed in the autumn of 1592. 
The terms of the diploma, preserved among Gali- 
leo's manuscripts in the Palatine Library, are 
sufficient to show in what esteem he was 
held in Italy, at the time when he was thus 
forced to expatriate himself from his be- 
loved Tuscany. After a recitation of the 
names and titles of the members of the Senate, it 
continues : " Owing to the death of Moleti, who 
formerly lectured on mathematics at Padua, the chair 
has been for a long period vacant : which being a most 
important one, it was thought proper to defer electing 
any to fill it, till such time as a fit and capable candi- 
' Hh dipio- date s h ou ^ appear. Now there has been 
** found Domine Galileo Galilei, who lectures 

at Pisa with very great honor and success, and who 
may be styled the first in his profession ; who, being 
content to come at once to our said university, and 
there to give the said lectures, it is proper to receive 
him. Therefore the said Domine Galileo Galilei is tc 
be appointed mathematical lecturer in our university 


for four years certain and two uncertain ; and the two 
last are to be at the will and pleasure of Our Serenity, 
with the stipend of one hundred and eighty florins 1 

It is not known in what house Galileo lived during 
his long residence at Padua. On his first j} e ^ vers ^ s 
arrival he was hospitably received by the Ij^JfJ^ 
celebrated Vincenzio Pinelli, a learned and ?'* 159*- 
munificent nobleman of Genoese origin, of whom we 
are told that he possessed a library of 80,000 volumes. 
Pinelli, who seems to have divined Galileo's extraor- 
dinary genius at the very outset of their acquaintance, 
mentioned him to Tycho Brahe as a man whose friend- 
ship it would be well worth his while to cultivate. But 
Tycho Brahe, then venerated as a living oracle of 
mathematical science, thought perhaps that his dignity 
might be compromised by his taking the initiative in a 
correspondence with a man whose fame was so recent 
as young Galileo's ; and deferred therefore making his 
acquaintance by letter till 1600, eight years after, and 
only one year before his own death. 

Galileo's acquaintance with Kepler began proba- 
bly by Kepler's making him a present of Begins a cor- 
his book, the " Prodromus Dissertationum vStfjCe^r. 
Cosmographicum." In Galileo's letter of thanks, 2 he 
expresses his joy at meeting with so powerful an as- 
sociate in the pursuit of truth, and deplores that the 
lovers of truth should be so few in number. He goes 
on to say, " Many years ago I became a convert to the 
opinions of Copernicus, and by that theory have suc- 
ceeded in fully explaining many phenomena which oc 

1 About 144 crowns of Tuscan money, or y.L English. 

2 Galileo to Kepler, 4th of August, 1597. 


the contrary hypothesis are altogether inexplicable. I 
have drawn up many arguments and confutations of 
the opposite opinions, which, however, I have not hith- 
erto dared to publish, fearful of meeting the same fate 
as our master Copernicus, who, although he has earned 
for himself immortal fame amongst a few, yet amongst 
the greater number appears as only worthy of hooting 
and derision ; so great is the number of fools. I 
should indeed dare to bring forward my speculations 
if there were many like you ; but since there are not, 
I shrink from a subject of this description." 

Kepler, in his answer to this letter, 1 advised Galileo 
to continue his speculations, and to publish what he 
might have written in defense of the Copernican the- 
ory in Germany, if he were not allowed to do so in 
Italy. This, however, Galileo did not do. Although 
he discussed the Copernican theory privately, and suc- 
ceeded in convincing many of his friends of its supe- 
riority to the Ptolemaic theory, yet he continued to 
teach the Ptolemaic system up to the year 1600, the 
approximate date of his treatise on the sphere. But 
at length the truth prevailed, and the inglorious shield 
of prudential motives was cast away. It is 

Self-distrust. . * 

to be observed that this fearfulness of giving 
offense, this lingering self-distrust, is a marked trait in 
Galileo's youthful character. He was always willing to 
think that older men were in the right, and that he 
himself might be in the wrong. Of Aristotle he was 
wont to say that his method of reasoning appeared to 
him unsatisfactory and erroneous, but no stronger 
terms of depreciation than these did he use in speak- 
ing of the great philosopher ; and such of his works as 
1 Kepler to Galileo, i3th of October, 1597. 


he did admire, he admired frankly and openly, partio 
ularly those on Ethics and Rhetoric. 

The whole period of Galileo's residence at Padua 
was one of unceasing industry. His lecture-room was 
rilled to overflowing, and he had a large house full of 
private pupils. Among the many treatises 
which he composed during the first few years 
of his professorship may be mentioned the written 1593, 

J A . J . which, ts also 

treatise on Fortification, that on Mechanics, the approxi- 

_. , . , - .. mate date of 

on Gnomonics, besides many others, all the treatise 
written for, and circulated in manuscript "monies. 
among, his disciples, by whom copies were scattered 
through almost every country in Europe. From his 
carelessness in not attaching his name to many of these 
writings, a carelessness which probably arose from his 
slight opinion of their value, it happened in more than 
one instance that all which was most precious in them 
was adopted by some impudent plagiarist, and put forth 
as his own invention. As an example of this, 
it may be sufficient to mention the case of 
Baidassare Capra, who, after having pirated 
Galileo's geometrical and military compass, now called 
the sector, wrote a book in which he endeavored to 
prove that Galileo, who had invented this compass 
about the year 1597, was the plagiarist. Galileo, who 
had dedicated his treatise on the use of the compass 
to Prince Cosmo, took some pains in this instance to 
prove his claim to the invention, and so far succeeded 
that Baidassare Capra's book was burnt by order of 
the Senate. 

From the year 1597 Galileo seems to have turned 
his attention particularly to the manufacture and im- 
provement of various scientific instruments. From his 


memorandum-book we find that, from the $th of July, 
1599, he took a workman of the name of Mazzoleni, 
Marcanto- with his family, to lodge in his house, in 
lent. order that the manufacture of instruments 

might proceed under his personal direction, and that 
his own inventions and improvements might be less 
Geometrical liable to piracy. Viviani says that he not 
ISwcom- on ty wrote pamphlets to explain the use 
pass. o f hj s compass and other instruments, but 

made them the subject of public lectures, besides pri- 
vately explaining their use to many foreigners of dis- 
tinction. Among these are named John Frederick, 
Prince of Alsace ; Philip, Landgrave of Hesse ; the 
Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, and Vincenzo Gon- 
zaga, Duke of Mantua. At a later period, this Duke, 1 
finding that the Venetian. Senate had made great use 
of Galileo's knowledge of engineering in its measures 
of defense and offense, endeavored to attach Galileo 
to his person. But Galileo, feeling that his conven- 
ience and liberty were both best secured at Padua, 
excused himself courteously from accepting the Duke's 

Tiraboschi asserts, on the authority of a letter of 
Galileo to Renieri, now proved to be apocryphal, 
Gustavus ^at the famous Gustavus Adolphus was at 
Adoipkus. one time his pupil. It does indeed appear 
probable that a Swedish prince of the name of Gusta- 
vus was for a time at Padua ; but if this were the case, 
it was a son of Henry XIV. of Sweden, born in 1568, 
the year of his father's deposition. The literati of the 
North deny the existence of any document proving 

1 Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, to Galileo, May 26th, 


that Gustavus Adolphus was ever in Italy. As he was 
born at the end of the year 1594, he would have been 
but fifteen in 1610, the year in which Galileo quitted 
Padua. It may be added that in a memorandum-book 
of Galileo's, now preserved in the Palatine Library, 
there is a long list of names of his pupils, and of such 
persons as were in the habit of attending his lectures, 
and that the name of the Swedish prince nowhere oc- 

Among the crowd of noble and learned men who 
felt themselves honored by the friendship of the Pad- 
uan professor may be named, besides Pinelli, already 
mentioned, Fra Paolo Sarpi, called the Machiavel of 
Venice ; Fra Fulgenzio Micanzio, Sarpi's friend and 
colleague; Fabricio da Acquapendente, the famous 
surgeon l who directed the studies of the great Har- 
vey ; Don Antonio de' Medici, a man of grave and 
studious tastes ; 2 and Gioan Francesco Sa- 
gredo, a witty and eccentric patrician, whose 
house at Venice resembled Noah's ark, having in it, 
as he tells us, all manner of beasts. Sagredo's friend- 
ship for Galileo was so strong, that he even ran the 
risk of offending some members of the Senate, in his 
strenuous endeavors to procure an augmentation of his 
friend's stipend in 1599. Contarini, who would seem 
to have ignored altogether the honor as well as the 
profit likely to accrue to the Republic by keeping in 
her service a man of such genius as Galileo, complained 

1 He wrote, amongst other things, a treatise De Ostiolis Ve- 
narum, from which it may be deduced that he was acquainted 
with the circulation of the blood before Fra Paolo Sarpi ; but 
this is a disputed point among Italian literati. 

a Illegitimate son of Francesco I. and Bianca Cappello. 


bitterly that he was pestered on the subject not only 
by Sagredo, but by his own nephews ; and that if Gal- 
ileo was not content with his stipend, he could resign. 
Moleti, he said, had never had more than 300 ducats ; 
and it was a presupposed thing that the professors 
should eke out their income by their private lessons. 1 
In the deliberation of the Senate on the subject, on 
the 2 Qth of October, the sum of 320 ducats was at 
length agreed upon instead of 350, which the pro- 
curator Donati had wished to concede. Sagredo was 
bidden to warn Galileo, if he were his friend, that he 
need expect no further augmentation whatever, for 
that the Senate did not choose to make his case a pre- 
cedent for every learned and needy foreigner who 
might think fit to press his claims, and that the usage 
of Bologna with regard to her professors was not to 
be set up as an example (which Sagredo had seemed 
inclined to do), as Bologna had a larger amount of 
money at the disposal of her university than the Ve- 
netian Senate had. Sagredo's mortification was ex- 
treme at being unable to serve his friend as completely 
as he wished. It was not till seven years later, in 
1606, that Galileo's stipend was further augmented, 
and this probably due to the good offices of Prince 
Leonardo Cosmo, 2 in his behalf with Donati, who was 

at that time D g e - It: was not till ne nad 
lectured in Padua for seventeen years that 
the Senate, roused at last to enthusiasm by his inven- 
tion of the telescope, voted him the professorship for 
life, with the stipend of a thousand florins. 8 

1 Sagredo to Galileo, September i, 1599. 

2 Afterwards Grand Duke. 

8 August 25, 1609. The decree runs thus : " Domine Galilea 


Galilei, having been mathematical lecturer in Padua for seven- 
teen years, to the gain of the University and to the satisfaction 
of all ; and having during his professorship made known to the 
world divers discoveries"and inventions, to his own renown, and 
to the common weal ; but in particular having lately invented an 
instrument whereby (knowing the secrets of perspective) those 
things which are visible but most distant are brought within our 
vision, and which may be made to serve in many occasions, 
. . . it is proper that this Council do gratefully and munifi- 
cently recognize the labors of those who are employed for the 
public benefit. Therefore," etc. 


Death of Galileo's Father. Family Circumstances. Letter 
of Madonna Giulia. Of Livia Galilei. Difficulties. His 
Brother. Letter to his Mother. Michelangelo Galilei's 
Behavior. His Sister Virginia. Livia Galilei's Trousseau. 
Michelangelo's Letter. 

BY the death of his father in 1591 Galileo had be- 
come the head of his family. This position, 
always attaching a grave responsibility to its 
possessor, was at the time we are speaking 
of, and in Galileo's case in particular, fraught with care 
and heavy anxiety. Not only was he expected to pro- 
vide money for the household requirements of the fam- 
ily, but it was his duty to see to his brother's setting 
out in life. A still more sacred duty was that of find- 
ing a suitable husband for his sister. That a girl's 
marrying was to be left to chance was a doctrine which 
would have been considered in those days at least as 
heretical and pernicious as that of the earth's motion. 
Such a spectacle as a house full of daughters, all grown 
up, the comfort of a mother's old age, was never seen. 
The girl's education finished, two paths were open, not 
for her to choose always, but to be chosen for her. 
One led to the cloister, the other to the house of a 
husband. The cloister was the refuge of such as pos- 
sessed not dowries equal to the requirements of their 
birth. Brides of Heaven, they thus escaped two evils, 
the degradation of a mesalliance, and the disgrace of 


It had been the family intention for Livia,' the only 
unmarried daughter at the time of Vincenzio's death, 
to take the veil, but so great was her aversion to a 
monastic life that her brother did not insist on her 
doing what would have saved him much trouble and 
expense. Though his sister Virginia had married 
before his father's death, the burden of providing 
the dowry had in great measure fallen upon Galileo. 
Pressed on all sides for money, he had been unable 
to satisfy his brother-in-law's demands. At length, 
not choosing to wait any longer, and not caring who 
went without as long as he got his own, Benedetto 
Landucci resolved to proceed to harsh measures. Ma- 
donna Giulia, hearing of his intention, wrote 1 to warn 
Galileo, who was then just recovering from a serious 
illness, the first of the long series which was hence- 
forward to form no small addition to the troubles of 
his life. 

After thanking God for her son's recovery, Ma- 
donna Giulia goes on to say : " Now I must Letter from 

- ., t i i Madonna 

not fail to tell you how things go on here Giulia. 
from day to day. If you carry into effect your in- 
tention of coming here next month, I shall be re- 
joiced. Only you must not come unprovided with 
funds, for I see that Benedetto is determined to have 
his own, that is to say, what you promised him ; and 
he menaces loudly that he will have you arrested the 
instant you arrive here. And as I hear you bound 
yourself (to pay), he would have the power to arrest 
you, and he is just the man to do it. So I warn you, 

1 This letter bears the following curious address : Al Motto 
Magnifico e Fideussimo Signore Galileo Galilei mio sempre Osser- 
uand: in Padova, and is dated May 29, 1593. 


for it would grieve me much if anything of the kind 
were to happen." 

From a short letter from Livia Galilei to her brother, 
Letter of it would seem that there was actually no pro- 

Livia Gali- . . , * /- i i 11 /-< IM 

lei. vision for the family beyond what Galileo 

gained by his stipend and his private lessons. She 
says : 

" DEAREST BROTHER, As our Lena * was here, I 
could not help writing these few lines to tell you about 
myself ; and though your lordship may not care to hear 
about me, I care to hear about you, for I have none in 
the world except you. So please be so kind as to an- 
swer me, that I may have this little bit of pleasure ; for 
though your lordship writes to our mother, she never 
brings me the letter; she only says, 'Your brother 
sends his love.' She told me your lordship was going 
to send Michelangelo to Poland. I was extremely 
grieved at hearing this at first, but then I comforted 
myself, saying, ( If Galileo thought it was a dangerous 
place, he would not send him ; ' for I know that you 
love him dearly. Besides that I heard that you were 
soon coming back, and it seems a thousand years 2 till 
you come. And please do remember to bring me 
some stuff to make a dress, for I am in great want of 

At this time Galileo had only been settled at Padua 
seven months; so that, although his prospects were 
very fair, his purse could not have been very heavy. 
He had had to pay a duty of z\ per cent, on his 

1 This Lena is supposed to have been an elder sister. A 
person of the same name was married and settled at Padua when 
Galileo first went there, and is also styled " our Lena " in his 
mother's letter. 

2 A common Tuscan expression. 

i6oo.] DIFFICULTIES. 35 

stipend, namely, 25 lire 12 soldi in Venetian money, 
and 3^ lire for the bolla, or stamp. 

Galileo found some difficulty in giving his brother 
his first start in life. He had wished him to 
have some post at the Grand Ducal Court, 
but there seemed no opening, though his musical talent 
and elegant manners had gained him many influential 
friends. Neither did any opening present itself for the 
exercise of his talents in Padua. The plan of going to 
Poland was for some time in abeyance, apparently 
from the indecision of the Polish prince name un- 
known for whose favor Michelangelo was a candi- 
date. At last a distinct offer was made, and Micheian- 
Michelangelo set out, without further loss Poland. 
of time, well provided with clothes and money by 
Galileo. This was in August, 1600. Livia was getting 
heartily tired of convent life, and was plaguing her 
mother to find her a husband. Since the girl was not to 
be coerced into taking the veil, Madonna Giulia had 
no alternative but to search herself and set her friends 
to search ; it being understood that the sposo must be 
of birth equal to the Galilei. Upon Galileo, as it has 
been already said, lay the burden of providing the dow- 
ry. His correspondence with his mother shows how 
calmly and readily he accepted this burden, and all 
others relating to the providing of the family with 
money. Writing from Padua on the 7th of August, 
1600, he says: 

" From your letter, and that of Messer Piero Sail, I 
hear of the proposed match for our Livia. Letter to his 
With regard to it, I do not see how I am to **** 
act ; for though, from what Messer Piero says, I esteem 
it desirable, yet it is impossible for me to consent to it 


just at present. The reason is, that this Polish noble- 
man (or prince) to whom Michelangelo had already 
applied, has at last written for him to come instantly, 
offering him very good terms, namely, his table, a 
dress similar to that worn by the gentlemen of his house- 
hold, two servants, a coach-and- four, and a salary of 
two hundred Hungarian ducats, which make about 
three hundred crowns of our money, besides perqui- 
sites. Michelangelo has decided on going, and is only 
waiting in hopes of good company for the journey. I 
think he will go within this fortnight. I, of course, must 
provide him with money ; and besides that, this prince 
wishes him to bring certain things, so that what with 
the said articles, and what with what he requires for 
himself, I cannot spend less than two hundred crowns. 
Now you know what expenses I have had this last year, 
so that I cannot do as I willingly would. On the other 
hand, Sister Contessa i writes, telling me that on all 
acounts I ought to take Livia away from the convent 
(S. Giuliano), for she hates remaining there. Now, as 
she has waited so long, I should like her to be well and 
comfortably settled. If I am to believe Messer Piero, 
this Pompeo Baldi is a good sort of man ; yet hearing 
that, including his private income and what he gets be- 
sides, he has not one hundred ducats yearly, I do not 
see how a household is to be maintained for that sum ; 
therefore I would, if possible, have the matter delayed : 
for Michelangelo will, without fail, send me a good 
sum of money as soon as he gets to his destination, and 
with this, joined to what I can get together, we may 
take measures for establishing the child, since she too 
is determined to come out and prove the miseries of this 
1 The Superior of the Convent of S. Giuliano. 


world. But I wish you would see about taking her 
away from S. Giuliano, and placing her in some other 
convent till her turn comes ; and persuade her that she 
will lose nothing by waiting. Tell her that there have 
been queens and great ladies who have not married till 
they were old enough to be her mother. Therefore 
pray see her as soon as you possibly can, and give the 
inclosed letter to Sister Contessa. She has been asking 
me to pay what is due for Livia's board ; find out how 
much it amounts to, and I will send it at once." 

Galileo's hopes of his brother's assistance were vain. 
Depending on him for help in paying his sister's 
dowry, he made up a match between her and a Pisan 
gentleman, promising a dowry of 1,800 ducats, of 
which 800 were paid down. But of this 800 he had 
to borrow 600, which he did without hesitation, ex- 
pecting that his brother would without fail send money 
from Wilna. Livia had been married almost a year, 
and Michelangelo had neither sent back the money 
his brother had generously advanced on his setting 
out, nor the money which he ought to have contributed 
to the dowry. Writing on the 2oth November, 1601, 
Galileo thus expresses his resentment at such unworthy 
behavior : 

" Though you have sent no answer whatever to 
either of the four letters which I have writ- Galileo's 

. . letter to his 

ten within the last ten months, I never- brother. 
theless write, and repeat what I have said before. 
And I would rather think that all my letters had 
missed you, or any other unlikely thing, than think 
that you meant to be wanting in your duty, not only 
in answering my letters, but in sending money to pay 
the debts which we owe to various persons, and in 


particular to Signer Taddeo Galletti, our brother-in- 
law, to whom, as I have already written several times, 
I married Livia, our sister, with a dowry of 1,800 
ducats. 1 I paid 800 down, and of these I was forced 
to borrow 600, depending on you to send, if not all, 
at least a good part of the sum ; expecting also that 
you would contribute so much yearly till the whole 
was paid, in conformity with the terms of the contract 
If I had imagined things were going to turn out in 
this manner, I would not have given the child in 
marriage, or else I would have given her only such a 
dowry as I was able to pay myself without assist- 
ance, since I seem to be fated to bear every burden 
alone. I beg that you will without delay have a deed 
drawn out and witnessed by a public notary, in which 
there shall be an acknowledgment of your being 
bound to pay the said dowry to Signor Taddeo jointly 
with me. I insist on this being done without delay. 
And, above all, I desire that you will write and give 
me some news of yourself; for every one is feeling 
anxious about you, there having been no word of your 
whereabouts since you left Cracow." 

Michelangelo never paid his brother a farthing. In 
Micheian- 1 605 he was back again at Padua, living at 
S p e enniie"sTo Galileo's expense, till the latter succeeded 
Padua. j n procuring him a post in the court of the 
Duke of Bavaria. That he should spend his money 
on himself while he had any, and, having spent all, 
fall back upon his brother, seemed to him a matter of 
course. Singularly egotistical by nature, never from 
first to last could he be brought to see that, being able 
to gain his own bread, the helping of others became 
1 A ducat is equal to 4^. zd. 


at once a sacred obligation. In this the brothers 
stood apart, with a great gulf between them. A frag- 
ment of a letter remains to show how even during his 
father's life-time Galileo helped to provide his sister 
Virginia with such bravery as beseemed a young mar- 
ried lady of ancient birth : 

" The present I am going to make Virginia consists 
of a set of silken bed-hangings. I bought Galileo's 
the silk 1 at Lucca, and have had it woven, %?*; 
so that, though the stuff is a wide width, it Virginia. 
will only cost me about three carlini the braccio. It is 
a striped stuff, and I think you will be much pleased 
with it. I have ordered silk fringes to match, and 
could very easily get the bedstead made too. But do 
not say a word to any one, that it may come to her 
quite unexpectedly. I will bring it when I come home 
for the Carnival holidays ; and, as I said before, if you 
like I will bring her worked velvet and damask stuff 
enough to make four or five handsome dresses." 

Though Madonna Virginia could have done without 
silken bed-hangings and velvet dresses, yet it is im- 
possible not to admire the generosity of the brother 
who thus provided out of his scanty stipend such 
bravery as should enable the 'bride to hold up her 
head among her new relations. 2 

More generous still was his behavior to Livia, as 
the following extract from his memorandum- Livia GO.U- 
book shows: /"* 

1 Lucca r Industriosa at one period enjoyed a monopoly in the 
production of silk, which, however, was extinct in the seventeenth 
century, though its manufactures were long considered the best 
in Tuscany. 

2 Benedetto Landucci was the son of Luca Landucci, who was 
ambassador at the Court of Rome, during the pontificate of 


" Note of the sums laid out for Livia's dress on her mar- 
riage : 

lire soldi 

Gold bracelets 191 oo 

Woolen cloth for a train petticoat, braccia 45 . . . 71 15 

Furniture for the said petticoat 9 oo 

High shoes 8 oo 

Light blue damask, braccia 13^ 121 10 

Gold trimmings 90 oo 

Silver trimmings 65 oo 

Black Naples velvet, braccia 2i| 425 oo 

Linings and other things for the dresses . . . . 18 oo 

Tailor's bill '. . . . 20 oo." 

This memorandum of money actually paid by 
Galileo in order to keep up such appearance as was 
commensurate with the family dignity, may be com- 
pared with a letter of Michelangelo's, in which the 
family money matters are discussed : 

" I was glad to get your letter, and though it was 
Michel- full of complaints, still I am pleased to find 
"kflerll tnat y u do not despise me quite so much 
Galileo.. as j nac i i ma gi ne d. Now, then, I will answer 
you about the claims of our brothers-in-law. My dear 
brother, if I have not been able to pay them, as I 
certainly should have liked to do, I do not see that 
you can blame me so much. You complain of my 
having spent such a large sum of money in one feast. 
I do not deny that the sum was large, but just consider 
that it was on the occasion of my wedding. There 
were more than eighty persons present, among whom 
were many gentlemen of importance, and among these 
there were no less than four ambassadors ; and had I 
not followed the custom of the country, I should have 
been put to shame ; so that I was forced to spend what 
I did, and indeed could not possibly have managed 


with less. You cannot accuse me of ever having spent 
such sums of money simply for my own gratification ; 
never, indeed, have I thrown money away on anything, 
but, on the contrary, have often denied myself what I 
wanted, in order to save. You say that it does not 
serve your turn for me to write and tell you that ' God 
will not be pleased if you keep up a feeling of rancor 
against me.' Of course, I know it will not serve your 
turn. I did not write it supposing that it would help 
you to get rid of the debt to our two brothers-in-law. 
As to that matter, I tell you shortly that I will do what 
I can, and, indeed, will put myself to every incon- 
venience, rather than not satisfy their claim in part ; 
but as to my finding 1,400 crowns, which is the sum 
still remaining to be paid, I know that I cannot do it, 
and never shall, for I find it scarcely possible to pay 
the interest. You should have given our sisters a 
dowry, not merely in conformity with your own ideas 
of what was right and fitting, but in conformity with 
the size of my purse. God knows that if I had not 
paid off my share, it was because I could not. When 
I sent you those fifty crowns, Signor Cosimo lent me 
thirty of them, and I have not yet repaid him, though 
I must soon, as he writes saying he wants one of my 
lutes. By and by I will borrow another fifty crowns 
and send you. I cannot promise more, for these last 
few months I have been obliged to spend a great deal 
for my house. I know that you will say that I should 
have waited, and thought of our sisters before taking 
a wife. But, good heavens ! The idea of toiling all 
one's life just to put by a few farthings to give one's 
sisters ! This yoke would be indeed too heavy and 
bitter ; for I am more than certain that in thirty years 


I should not have saved enough to cover this debt. 
God help me ! I would do more than that if I could. 
Have a little pity on me, and consider that you cannot 
say I ever had the heart to gratify my own liking with- 
out caring about others. You may say that my having 
married is a proof that I care not for paying my debts 
as long as I can gratify my own liking. To this I shall 
make no answer. God knows I am thankful to have 
my wife, and I hope He will enable me to carry out 
my desire in satisfying this debt. I shall say no more, 
but I trust that you will consider me a good brother ; 
for I will do all I can to send you some assistance, as 
you say it is all my fault that you are in such distress. 
But excuse me ; if I failed, it was because I could not 
help it. I understand that you are going to send the 
case of lutes shortly. I have been expecting its ar- 
rival with some impatience ; for during this Lent I am 
in great want of the lutes for playing concerted music j 
and to have them quicker, I would not mind paying 
something more for carriage." l 

Galileo must have been more than human not to 
feel some resentment at such selfish conduct ; his 
resentment, however, was but short-lived. In 1610 
the brothers had again resumed their correspondence, 
and from that time Michelangelo never failed to write 
to Galileo whenever he was in want of assistance, 
l Michelangelo Galilei to Galileo, March 4, 1608. 


Invention of the Thermometer. Prince Cosmo. Horoscope- 
casting. Loadstone.'- Bargaining. Invention of the Tele- 
scope. Letter to Benedetto Landucci. Discovery of Jupiter's 
Satellites. Letter of Michelangelo Galilei. Opposition. 
Negotiations respecting Return to Florence. Letter to Beli- 
sario Vinta. Quits Padua. Secret Enemies at Court. 
Flattering Proposals from the Court of France. Marie de' 
Medici. Magini. Horky. Roffeni's Letter. Discovery 
of Saturn's Ring. Phases of Venus. Galileo's Visit to 
Rome. Solar Spots. Discourse on Floating Bodies. 

IT is not quite certain at what period Galileo in- 
vented the thermometer, but, from the testi- invention of 
mony of Benedetto Castelli, we may fix it momtUr. 
about the year 1602. 1 It was at first believed that 
Santorio was the inventor of this instrument. Sa- 
gredo, writing to Galileo in 1612, says: " Signor 
Mula was at Padua for the feast of St. Antony, and 
told me he had seen an instrument made by Sig- 
nor Santorio, with which heat and cold were meas- 

1 Castelli to Monsignor Ferdinando Cesarini, September 20, 
1638 : " About this time I remembered an experiment which our 
Signor Galileo had shown me more than thirty-five years ago. 
He took a glass bottle about the size of a hen's egg, the neck of 
which was two palms long, and as narrow as a straw. Having 
well heated the bulb in his hands, he placed its mouth in a ves- 
sel containing a little water, and withdrawing the heat of his hand 
from the bulb, instantly the water rose in the neck more than a 
palm above the level of the water in the vessel," etc. 


ured ; and at last he told me that it was a large glass 

t^rfon the ^ u ^ w ^^ a .^ on neck. I began at once to 
tkermome- make vessels of this description, and have 

ter or ther- 

succeeded in making some very handsome 
ones." Sagredo goes on to say that he inclosed a 
drawing of the best he had made ; but, as unfortu- 
nately there is no trace of this drawing, it is impossible 
to say precisely what the instrument was of which San- 
torio was the inventor. In another letter of Sagredo, 
of the Qth of May, 1613, he distinctly ascribes the in- 
vention of the thermometer to Galileo; thus, "The 
instrument which you invented for measuring heat I 
have brought into various convenient and perfect 
forms, so that the difference of temperature between 
two rooms is seen as far as 100 degrees." It would 
appear, then, that Sagredo had been ignorant of Gali- 
leo's discovery, 1 and that the latter, on hearing his 

description of Santorio's instrument, had 


proved that he had forestalled Santorio. It 
is also possible, though by no means certain, that 
both Santorio and Galileo invented this instrument 
about the same time. Venturi observes that some 

1 Another letter of Sagredo's confirms this supposition : " j 
am daily making alterations and additions to the instrument for 
measuring the temperature. . . . But as you write me, and 
as I certainly believe, that you are the first author and inventor 
of the instrument, I think that those which you and your exceed- 
ingly clever workman have made must be far superior to mine. 
Pray write and let me know how you make yours, and I will in 
return inform you how I make mine. . . . The man who 
gives himself out as the inventor, is quite incapable of making 
such a thermometer as I wish to have ; and I have vainly en- 
deavored to make him understand," etc. Sagredo to Galileo, 
March 15, 1615. 


ascribe the priority of the invention to Drebbel ; but it 
is not said that he published it as his till 
1620, when he was in England, which would 
be seventeen years after Galileo had brought it before 
his friend's notice. Fludd wrote a descrip- 
tion of the thermometer in 1617 or there- 
abouts, and Santorio in 1626. These three authors, 
as well as Galileo, fabricated their instruments in 
precisely the same manner, and it appears from their 
description that this heat-measurer was thermoscope 
and baroscope in one. It is evident that the first 
instruments of this sort were extremely rude. At a 
later period, Ferdinand II. of Tuscany introduced 
various notable improvements in its construction. 
Galileo pursued his experiments with it only so far 
as to use spirits of wine instead of water. Mercury 
was not employed till 1670. 

By the Grand Duke's desire, Galileo began in 1601 
to give instruction in mathematics to the Prince 

Cosmo Gali- 

_ . _ . . . . , 

Prince Cosmo, a bright boy of 
twelve, described by the physician Mercuriale as a 
curioso cervello, wanting to know the wherefore of 
everything. It seems that there was no one con- 
sidered capable of carrying on this branch of the 
Prince's education during Galileo's absence at Padua, 
so that the progress of the pupil must have been but 
slow. But though Galileo was fully sensible of the 
honor done him by the Grand Duke in confiding to 
him alone the mathematical instruction of the heir to 
the grand-ducal crown, he was too sensible of what 
was due to himself to appear at the Court of Tuscany 
except by the Grand Duke's express invitation ; not 
choosing, as he plainly wrote to Belisario Vinta, to be 


a mere hanger-on at court, or a crouching suppliant 
for the Serene favor. 1 This independent attitude was 
so far from displeasing, that it brought forth the 
grand-ducal testimony that Galileo was the greatest 
mathematician in all Christendom, and that he should 
find he had no reason to repent coming to Florence. 
Her Highness Christina was such a firm believer in 
his talent, that she applied to him to correct her 
husband's horoscope, during what proved to be the 
Grand Duke's last illness. Galileo of .course did not 
Galileo a refuse, but made the desired correction, 
caster ' according to which Ferdinand I. had still 
many years to live. 2 He died twenty-two days after, 
in spite of this happy prognostic, which Galileo him- 
self had no more believed when he wrote it; than he 
did when he drew the horoscope of Margherita Pic- 
chena, of Sagredo, or of any of his other friends. 

In the year 1607 Galileo made various observations 
Observa- on the loadstone, suggested to him at first, 

tions on the . 

loadstone. it may be, by a perusal of the work of 
William Gilbert, of Colchester, " De Magnete," etc. 8 
These observations he imparted to his friend Secretary 
Picchena, who in his turn imparted them to Prince 

1 Galileo to Belisario Vinta, May 30, 1608. 

2 Galileo to the Grand Duchess Christina, January 16, 1609. 

8 "... Essendosi da grandissimo filosofo diffusamenta 
scritto, e con evidenti dimostrazioni confirmato, altro non esser 
questo nostro mondo in suo primario e universal sustanza, che 
un gran globo di calamita." Galileo to the Grand Duchess Chris- 
tina, 1606. In the Dialogue, he acknowledges Gilbert's merit in 
still warmer terms, declaring that his marvelous conception (that 
of the earth being a great loadstone) was to him a subject of 
praise, admiration, and envy. But Galileo's envy was not the 
envy of a mean mind. 

1607.] THE LOADSTONE. 47 

Cosmo. The young Prince sent to say he would like to 
possess such a loadstone as the one Galileo had, weigh- 
ing about half a pound Tuscan. The hint was plain 
enough. Galileo wrote back to say that the loadstone 
and all else belonging to him was at the Prince's dis- 
posal, but that a friend of his possessed a loadstone in- 
finitely more worthy of the Serene notice, which might 
probably be parted with for a consideration. From 
the correspondence which ensued we learn that the 
Grand Duke was no more above bargaining than any 
peddler in Tuscany. It is with pain that we see Galileo, 
the man to whom the secrets of the heavens were so 
shortly to be revealed, actually lending himself to small 
subterfuges for the sake of saving his Serene pupil's 
father a few crowns. At the same time it is fair to state 
that this is the sole instance of the tortuous, higgling 
spirit, which we feel to be more fitting to a dealer at 
the rag- fair in Piazza San Giovanni than Bargaining 
to the father of experimental philosophy. icadtt(nu. 
The friend to whom this unique loadstone belonged 
was Sagredo. Galileo concealed his name, for what 
reason we are unable to guess, merely affirming that 
he (Sagredo) had been offered 200 gold crowns by a 
German jeweler, who had wished to buy the loadstone 
for the Emperor, but that he had declared he would 
only part with it for as much gold as it would carry fast- 
ened to the end of an iron wire, namely, more than 800 
crowns ; or, in plain Tuscan, its price (prezzo ristrettd) 
was 400 crowns. Galileo had invented a story about 
a Polish gentleman to account for his curiosity respect- 
ing Sagredo's loadstone. 1 To account for the delay in 
Picchena's answer, he found it necessary to state that 
1 Galileo to Picchena, February 8, 1608. 


this Polish gentleman, his pupil, was staying at Flor- 
ence for a time. It is probable that Sagredo did not 
wish to part with the loadstone, and therefore put a fancy 
price upon it. Galileo found to his mortification that 
the negotiation would have been expedited by his tell- 
ing the truth at once, as Sagredo would have felt him- 
self honored by Prince Cosmo's acceptance of the 
loadstone as a free gift. The bargain was concluded 
after four months' haggling over the price. Galileo, 
fearing that his friend Sagredo would feel that his in- 
terests had been quite lost sight of when he came to 
know who the Polish gentleman was, begged Picchena 
to ask his Serene Highness to give 100 doubloons in- 
stead of 100 gold crowns, which was the price agreed 

The year 1609 is memorable as the date of Galileo's 
invention of invention of the telescope. The honor both 
the telescope. Q f this j nvent i on an ^ the discoveries it di- 
rectly led to, became a matter for fierce dispute. Not 
only was it claimed by the Dutch, but Galileo's own 
countrymen were eager to ascribe it to any rather than 
to him old authors were consulted and brought for- 
ward to prove that, if indeed Galileo had made the 
telescope, it was only because he had put into practice 
certain theories, or made experiments on certain phe- 
Baptista nomena described in their works. Thus, 
*Ge r roiamo Baptista Porta, Gerolamo Fracastoro, a 
and C De r ' writer of the sixteenth century, and De Dom- 
Dominis. \^^ Archbishop of Spalatro, were named 
successively as the first discoverers of the telescope. 
Borelli endeavored fifty years later to prove that a 
Dutchman named Jansen was the first discoverer, and 
it would indeed appear that the priority of the discov- 

1609.] THE TELESCOPE. 49 

ery rests with him, though its only use was to serve as 
a toy for a prince, and scarcely as much value was at- 
tached to it as to the giant magnet which had delighted 
Prince Cosmo. 1 

Galileo thus describes his discovery in a letter to 
his brother-in-law Landucci : 2 " I write now Lettgr to 
because I have a piece of news for you, Landucdon 

A ' the disco-very 

though whether you will be glad or sorry to of the 

J _ _ . 6 / telescope. 

hear it I cannot say, for I have now no hope 
of returning to my own country, though the occurrence 
which has destroyed that hope has had results both 
useful and honorable. You must know, then, The occhiaie, 
that about two months ago there was a re- O c r hiaoon 
port spread here that in Flanders some one J^ by 
had presented to Count Maurice (of Nassau) j^JJn^, 
a glass/ manufactured in such a way as to Cesi - 
make distant objects appear very near, so that a man 
at the distance of two miles could be clearly seen. 
This seemed to me so marvelous that I began to 
think about it : as it appeared to me to have a founda- 
tion in the science of perspective, I set about thinking 
how to make it, and at length I found out, and have 
succeeded so well that the one I have made is far 
superior to the Dutch telescope. 4 It was reported in 
Venice that I had made one, and a week since I was 

1 This magnet, about which there was such a lengthy corre- 
spondence between Galileo and Secretary Picchena, was lost in 
1698 (and perhaps before that time). Leibnitz deplores its loss 
in two letters written in 1698 to Magliabechi. 

2 Galileo to Benedetto Landucci, August 29, 1609. 
8 Occhiale, eye-glass ; spectacles in the plural. 

* Daniel Antonini, writing from Brussels to Galileo, in April, 
1611, complains that in Flanders rro telescopes were to be pro- 
cured capable of magnifying objects more than five times, and 


commanded to show it to his Serenity and to all the 
members of the Senate, to their infinite amazement. 
Many gentlemen and senators, even the oldest, have 
ascended at various times the highest bell-towers in 
Venice, to spy out ships at sea making sail for the 
mouth of the harbor, and have seen them clearly, 
though without my telescope they would have been 
invisible for more than two hours. The effect of this 
instrument is to show an object at a distance of, say 
fifty miles, as if it were but five miles off. 

" Perceiving of what great utility such an instru- 
ment would prove in naval and military operations, 
and seeing that his Serenity greatly desired to possess 
it, I resolved four days ago to go to the pal- 
ace and present it to the Doge as a free gift. 
And on quitting the presence-chamber I was com- 
man ded to bide awhile in the hall of the 
Senate, whereunto, after a little, the Illus- 
trissimo Prioli, who is Procurator and one of the 
Riformatori of the University, came forth to me from 
the presence-chamber, and, taking me by the hand, 
said that the Senate, knowing the manner in which I 
had served it for seventeen years at Padua, and being 
sensible of my courtesy in making it a present of my 
telescope, had immediately ordered the Illus- 
eiectedto the trious Riformatori to elect me (with my good- 

mathemati- . 11X . .. . . r .._ ... 

caiprofes- will) to the professorship for life, with a 

it//, Aug- r stipend of 1,000 florins yearly ; and as there 

remained to me yet a year to terminate the 

period of my last reelection, they willed that the in- 

that he had endeavored to make a telescope himself, which 
had succeeded so far as to show the inequality of the moon's sur- 
face, and the satellites of Jupiter, or Medicean Planets, as they 
were then called. 


crease of stipend should date from that same day. 
I, knowing that Fortune's wings are swift, but that 
those of Hope are drooping, 1 said that I was content 
to abide his Serenity's pleasure. Then the illustrious 
Prioli, embracing me. said, ' As I command Leonardo 

, . i i T i i Donati, 

here, and can order what i please, it being Doge. 
my turn this week, I will that after dinner the Senate 
assemble, and that your reelection be put to the bal- 
lot ; ' which was done, without one dissentient vote. 
So that I am bound here for life, and can only hope to 
enjoy a sight of my own country during the Paduan 

Galileo himself seems at first to have been uncon- 
scious of the immense importance of his discovery. 
Writing, in the December of 1609, to Michelangelo 
Buonarotti the younger, he mentions casually that he 
had introduced some improvements into the manu- 
facture of telescopes, and that perhaps he might make 
some further discovery. He had used the telescope 
to make observations on the moon, subver- opserva- 
sive of the crystalline theory then in vogue, 27/^? 
but the discovery of Jupiter's satellites took *^'69- 
him quite as much by surprise as it did the rest of the 
world. His correspondence shows how that which 
might have easily been to him an occasion for vain- 
glory excited on the contrary a feeling of deep humil- 
ity, and a sense of his own unworthiness and insig- 
nificance. Writing to Belisario Vinta, on the 3oth of 
January, 1610, after thanking him for his kindness in 
helping one Alessandro Piersanti, his servant, to re- 
cover a sum of money which he was in danger of 

1 In allusion to the negotiations in which his friends were 
engaged relative to his return to Tuscany. 


losing altogether, he goes on to say : " I am at pres- 
ent staying at Venice for the purpose of getting printed 
some observations which I have been making on the 
celestial bodies by means of a telescope which I have 
(col mezzo di un mio occhiale), and being infinitely 
amazed thereat, so do I give infinite thanks to God, 
who has been pleased to make me the first observer 
of marvelous things, unrevealed to by-gone ages. I 
had already ascertained that the moon was a body 
most similar to the earth, and had shown our Most 
Serene master as much, but imperfectly, not having 
such an excellent telescope as I now possess, which, 
besides showing me the moon, has revealed to me a 
multitude of fixed stars never yet seen ; beirig more 
than ten times the number of those that can be seen 
with the unassisted eye. Moreover, I have ascertained 
what has always been a matter of controversy among 
The Milky philosophers ; namely, the nature of the 
w y- Milky Way. But the greatest marvel of all 

is the discovery I have made of four new planets : I 
Discovery of have observed their proper motions in rela- 


satellites, tion to themselves and to each other, and 
tSU! 1 **' wherein they differ from all the other mo- 
tions of the other stars. And these new planets move 
round another very great star, in the same way as Venus 
and Mercury, and perad venture the other known plan- 
ets, move round the Sun. As soon as my tract is 
printed, which, as an advertisement, I intend sending 
to all philosophers and mathematicians, I shall send 
a copy to the Most Serene Grand Duke, together with 
an excellent telescope, which will enable him to judge 
for himself of the truth of these novelties." 

A few stars more or less in the heavens, a few 

i6io.] MEDICEA SIDERA. 53 

spots more or less on the sun, so long as the sun of 
Medicean favor shone on him, were but trifles to 
Vinta, absorbed in the duties of his secretaryship. 
Knowing, however, that his Highness was as eager to 
hear new things as any Athenian of old, he, courtier- 
like, took Galileo's letter immediately to the Grand 
Duke, who directed him to write without delay to ex- 
press his Serene admiration of Galileo's almost super- 
natural genius, and his desire to possess a telescope 
with all the latest improvements. 

Jupiter's satellites, however, were not long in assum- 
ing importance in the eyes of Secretary Vinta. Gali- 
leo, pleased at the Grand Duke's interest in the dis- 
covery, conceived the idea of naming the new planets, 
as they were then called, after him. But he was in 
doubt whether to call them Cosmici, in allusion to the 
Grand Duke's name, or whether to dedicate them to 
the four brothers, 1 under the name of Medicea Sidera. 
This, to Vinta, was a matter for deep con- The Medicea 
sideration. It was decided by him that the Sidera - 
latter title would be most pleasing to their Highnesses, 
and his decision was accepted by Galileo. 2 

During the Easter recess Galileo visited the Court 
of Tuscany, for the express purpose of show- Galileo visits 

ing the Grand Duke the new satellites. 8 Ducal 
His Highness asked for and obtained the AJU\ 1610. 
gift of the telescope with which the discovery had been 

1 Cosmo II. had three brothers living, namely, Francesco, 
Carlo, and Lorenzo- 

2 Vinta to Galileo, February 20, 1610. 

8 Vinta, in his letter containing the Grand Duke's invitation, 
qualifies Galileo's discovery of the satellites as a most ingenious 
invention, ingegnosissima invenzione. 


made, though Galileo ultimately, as it appears, kept 
it in his own hands ; and it did not become the prop- 
erty of the Grand Duke, who died in Galileo's life-time, 
but of his successor. It may well be believed that 
Galileo could not make up his mind to part with his 
" old discoverer," as he affectionately calls this tele- 
scope, even to gratify the Grand Duke's whim. 

We learn from Galileo's correspondence with Vinta, 
T/& that the second edition of his " Nuncius Si- 

SideZeu^" dereus," or "Messenger of the Stars," was 
*M*n$La** P ut ^ nto P ress m I GSS tnan two months after 
Venice. the appearance of the first edition, which, by 
an after-thought, was dedicated to the Grand Duke. At 
the same time, he tells us, he reprinted his treatise on 
the " Use of the Geometric and Military Compass," of 
which there was not a single copy left. Besides this, 
he was continually occupied in the manufacture of 
these compasses, of which, since 1596, more than three 
hundred had passed through his hands. Of the tele- 
scopes he had manufactured above a hundred, with 
great cost and labor ; and of these, but ten were capa- 
ble of showing the satellites and the fixed stars. 
Three of these he designed for the Duke of Bavaria, 
the Elector of Cologne, and Cardinal del Monte, who 
Presents his had all begged for one. The rest he in- 

telescopes to 

the great tended, with the Grand Duke's permission, 

princes of T . . ' 

Europe. to send to the great princes and reigning 
monarchs of Spain, France, Poland, and Austria, and 
to the Duke of Urbino. The Cardinal, in return 
for Galileo's present, sent him a small picture to 
which an indulgence was attached. The Duke of Ba- 
varia was not behindhand : let us hope that his pres- 


ent was a more substantial one than the cardinal's. 1 
The Elector of Cologne considered that the " Nuncius 
Sidereus " was incomplete, since it contained no receipt 
for the making of telescopes. He desired Galileo to 
make him a participator in his secret, promising to 
recompense him after his own princely fash- Letter of 
ion. " See if you can gratify the Elector by %* 
showing him how to manufacture the instru- Galilel - 
ment ; and if not, write him a letter in your own way," 
says Michelangelo Galilei, 2 not choosing to bear the 
brunt of the electoral anger in case of Galileo's refusal. 
" You say not a word about the telescope I asked you 
for," he continues, much in the tone of a spoilt child 
who wonders at being denied a new toy. " And if I 
am not a prince able to remunerate you, at any rate I 
am your brother, and it seems very strange to me that 
you do not care to gratify me with this thing. Pray 
send me the cords 8 without fail ; and above all, do not 
forget, when you go to Florence, to procure me letters 
of recommendation from the Grand Duke to my mas- 
ter ; but mind you, let them be good ones, such as you 
know how to get easily enough. I have nothing more 
to say, except that I beg you not to forget what I have 
asked for." 

Throughout Florence the excitement was immense. 
Every one desired to possess a Venetian Excitement 
glass. Alessandro Sertini, a clever advocate in Florence. 
and old friend of Galileo, writes an amusing letter 4 de- 

1 Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, to Galileo, July 8, 1610. The 
" picciolo dono " was perhaps a sum of money. 

2 Michelangelo Galilei to Galileo, April 14, 1610. 
8 For the lutes. 

4 Alessandro Sertini to Galileo, March 27, 1610. 


scribing the irrepressible curiosity of ,some of his friends 
on hearing that the Venetian courier had brought him 
a small box from Galileo. There must surely be a tel- 
escope in it. The box must be opened then and there. 
When it was found to contain no telescope, but only the 
" Nuncius Sidereus," still the curiosity did not abate. 
Sertini was forced to read that portion of the " Nuncius " 
relating to the new planets aloud to a circle assembled 
at a friend's house. Sertini, too, asks for a telescope, 
but prefers the request in rather more courteous terms 
than had been used by Galileo's brother. 

Michelangelo Buonarotti 1 wrote a sonnet in his 
Michelangelo friend's praise. Thomas Segheti, a learned 
Englishman at Prague, whose name is 
scarce ly discoverable in its Italian dress 
perhaps it was Segget wrote Latin epigrams, which 
were printed by Kepler's desire along with his trea- 
tise on the " Nuncius Sidereus." Galileo grateful t6 
KepieSs Kepler for his adherence and approbation, 
adherence, wrote sadly to Vinta, contrasting Kepler's 
reception of his discovery with the violent opposi- 
tion with which it had been met by some of his coun- 
trymen. " The Emperor's mathematician has sent 
me a treatise in eight folios, in the form of a letter, 
written in approbation of my book, of which he neither 
doubts nor contradicts one word. And your lordship 
may believe that Italian literati would have done as 
much from the beginning, if I had been living in Ger- 
many or in some country still more distant." 2 

The whole University crowded to hear his three lec- 

1 Nephew of the great Michelangelo. 

2 Galileo to Belisario Vinta, May 7, 1610. 

i6io.] OPPOSITION. 57 

tures on the satellites. Most were convinced ; a few 
merely pretended to be convinced; and a 

3 J Lectures at 

small minority declared that even if they Padua on 
were forced to look through the telescope satellites, 

and see the satellites, they would not believe 
them to be in the sky, " because the heavens were un- 
changeable" The force of this argument is obvious :' 
the satellites were not there before Galileo saw them. 
On hearing the first news of the discovery, Kepler, with 
that readiness to receive correction which so truly 
marks a great mind, had written off to Galileo, " that 
if he were right, which he was inclined to believe, then 
his own book on Cosmography must be entirely wrong." 
Galileo believed that his lectures had silenced, if they 
had not convinced, all his opponents. But . . 

7 . rr m Opposition 

three men still remained, whose stolidity was of Martin 
proof against all reason and experience ; cW 
namely, Martin Horky, a Bohemian, Cesare and Fran-' 
Cremonino of Cento, and Francesco Sizi, a 
Florentine. The latter wrote a foolish book entitled 
" Dianoia Astronomica," intended to disprove the exist- 
ence of these obtrusive satellites. The only answer 
Galileo deigned to make, after a perusal of it, was by 
scribbling a verse of Ariosto 1 on the back of the title- 
page of his copy, intimating that it was not worth his 
while to do battle with such an adversary. 

It was after Galileo's Easter visit to the Court of 
Tuscany, that Vinta began, by the Gran4 
Duke's order, to sound him on the condi- 

return to 

tions under which his services might be se- Tuscany. 
1 " Soggiunse il duca : Non sarebbe onesto 
Che io volessi la battaglia torre 
Di quel che m'offerisco manifesto, 
Quando vi piaccia, innanzi agli occhi porre." 

Orlando Furioso, v. 40. 


cured to his Highness alone. Some time before this 
Galileo had experienced that weariness of his life at 
Padua, that longing to return to Tuscany, which had 
its root in homesickness, quite as much as in desire 
of greater leisure for study. Yet his life at Padua was 
a life such as most men would have envied. Hard 
work he had, but it was voluntary, not forced labor. 
The houses of the witty and learned were open to him ; 
the most illustrious patricians of Venice sought after his 
society, and felt themselves favored by his friendship. 
Had he desired, he might have amassed almost as 
large a fortune as his friend Acquapendente ; he 
might have retired, like him, to a villa on the Brenta, 
to end in peace a laborious and useful life. But Gal- 
ileo was not Italianissimo. His life at Padua was to 
him but an honorable exile. His thoughts turned 
constantly to his beloved and beautiful Florence ; his 
country, la patria, was little Tuscany. From the at- 
tachment of his pupil, Prince Cosmo, he had hoped 
much, and on the accession of this Prince he had im- 
parted his hopes of a speedy recall to his friends 
Eneas and Silvio Piccolomini, the latter of whom had 
been Prince Cosmo's tutor. This desire of Galileo's 
was naturally kept very secret j partly because he 
knew that the Senate valued his services too highly to 
bear the loss of them with equanimity, but also be- 
cause his friends felt that it was necessary 

HL "alhfr, to prepare the mind of the new Grand Duke 
F i er Feb? to receive the idea in such a manner as that 
1609. hi s Highness should believe that he himself 

had originated it. It appears certain that in this 
scheme the two Piccolomini and one other gentleman, 
S'gnor Vespuccio, were Galileo's only confidants. 


Vinta knew nothing of it, nor did Galileo wish him 
to know, as may be gathered from the following let- 
ter. 1 

" It becomes my duty, as a sign of my lively sense 
of the good offices of yourself and Signor Eneas Pic- 
colomini, to unfold to your lordships my thoughts re- 
specting that state of life in which I would 

desire to pass the years that yet remain, so Return to 

that, on any other occasion which may pre- 
sent itself to the illustrious Signor Eneas, he, 
with that prudence and dexterity which be- ** 
longs to him, may answer our Serene master 
more cleterminately ; to whose Highness, besides the 
reverent service and humble obedience which every 
faithful vassal owes him, I feel myself drawn with a de- 
votion which I may call by the name of love (for God 
himself asks us no more than love), so that, setting 
aside my own interests, I would without hesitation 
change my fortune, to do his Highness a pleasure. 
So that this answer alone may suffice to bring his 
Highness to a decision in his intention respecting me. 
" But if his Highness, with that courtesy and hu- 
manity which distinguish him above all other men, 
would deign to take me into his service, thereby ren- 
dering me satisfied to overflowing, I would say with- 
out hesitation that, having now labored for twenty 
years, and these the best years of my life, in dealing 
out, so to speak, by retail, to all who chose to ask, 
that small portion of talent which, through God and 
my own labor, I have gained in my profession, my 
desire would be to possess so much rest and leisure 

1 Galileo to a Florentine gentleman, whom he addresses as 
Sig. Vesp. : mio gentilissimo, in the spring of 1609. 


as to be able to conclude three great 1 works which I 
have in hand, and to publish them before I die. This 
might possibly bring some credit to me, and also to 
those who had favored my undertaking ; and per- 
adventure it may be of greater and more lasting utility 
to the studious in my profession than in the rest of 
my life I could afford them. I do not think that I 
could meet with greater leisure anywhere than at this 
place, so long as I find it necessary to depend on my 
public and private lectures for the support of my fam- 
ily ; nor would I willingly teach in any other city than 
this, for many reasons which it would be too long to 
state. Nevertheless, even the liberty which I have 
here is not enough, where the best hours of my day 
are at the disposal of this man or the other. 

"It is impossible to obtain from a republic, how- 
ever splendid and generous, a stipend without duties 
attached to it ; for to have anything from the public 
one must work for the public, and as long as I am 
capable of lecturing and writing, the Republic cannot 
hold me exempt from duty, while I enjoy the emolu- 
ment. In short, I have no hope of enjoying such 
ease and leisure as are necessary to me, except in 
the service of an absolute prince. 

" But I would not that, from what I have said, your 
lordships should think that I have unreasonable pre- 
tensions, as that I desire a stipend without merit and 
without service, for such is not my thought. As to 
my merit, I have various inventions, of which one 
alone, should a great prince take a delight in it, might 
suffice to place me above want for the rest of my life. 

1 The Dialogues on Motion, on the Two Great Systems, and 
the treatise De Incessu Animalium, which is lost. 


For experience shows me that many discoveries of far 
less value have brought honor and riches to their dis- 
coverers. 1 And it has always been my intention to 
offer my inventions to my prince and natural master, 
that he might do with both the invention and the in- 
ventor according to his good pleasure. 

" Daily I discover new things, and if I had more 
leisure, and were able to employ more workmen, I 
should do much more in the way of experiment and 
invention. And since you ask for some details re- 
specting my gains here, I will say that my lectureship 
is worth 520 florins, which I feel assured will be in- 
creased to as many crowns on my reelection, and 
these I can easily put by, as I am greatly helped in 
the maintenance of my household by taking pupils, 
and by giving private lessons, of which I can give as 
many as I choose. I say this because I refrain from 
giving many, desiring to have leisure much rather than 
gold ; for it would be easier to me to gain renown by 
my studies, than by working for such a sum of money 
as might render me conspicuous amongst men. 

"Thus succinctly, most gentle Signor Vespuccio, 
have I laid before you my thoughts. Whenever you 
see a fit opportunity for doing so, I would beg you to 
make the illustrious Signori Eneas and Silvio ac- 
quainted with the same. I know that I can thoroughly 
depend on the friendship of these two, and I shall 
have recourse to none besides. I therefore beg your 
lordship not to communicate the contents of this let- 
ter to any but these gentlemen." 

1 This discovery or invention is not further specified. The 
telescope was not invented till the June of the same year in 
which this letter was written (1609). 


But in less than a year after this letter was written, 
Galileo was in a position to dictate his own terms to 
the Grand Duke. "I desire greatly," he wrote to 
Secretary Vinta, 1 " to have my mind set at rest on that 
business which we discussed lately at Pisa. For, see- 
ing that every day is one more day gone, I am entirely 
resolved to fix once for all on the mode in which the 
rest of my life is to be passed, and turn all my ener- 
gies to bring to a termination the labors of all my 
past life, from which I hope to gain some renown." 
After mentioning his income and prospects at Padua, 
he continues : " And, in short, I should wish to gain 
my bread by my writings, which I would always dedi- 
cate to my Serene master. Of useful and curious se- 
crets I possess so many, that their very abundance 
does me harm; for if I had but one, I should have 
esteemed it greatly, and perhaps, through it, I might 
have found that fortune which as yet I have not met 
with, nor have I sought it : magna, longeque admira- 
bilia apud me habeo : but they are no good to me, or 
rather they can be no good except to princes ; for 
they alone make war, erect fortresses, and for their 
royal pleasure spend such sums of money as private 
gentlemen cannot, any more than I can. The works 
which I wish to finish are principally these : two 
books on the system of the universe ; an immense 
work (idea, concetto), full of philosophy, astronomy, 
and geometry : three books on local motion, a science 
entirely new ; no one, either ancient or modern, hav- 
ing discovered any of the marvelous accidents which 
I demonstrate in natural and violent motions ; so that 
I may with very great reason call it a new science, 
1 Galileo to Belisario Vinta, May 7, 1610. 

l6io.] LETTER TO VINTA. 63 

discovered by me from its very first principles : three 
books on mechanics, two on the demonstration of its 
first principles, and one of problems ; and though this 
is a subject which has already been treated by various 
writers, yet all which has been written hitherto, neither 
in quantity nor otherwise, is the quarter of what I am 
writing on it. I have also various treatises on natural 
subjects, on sound and speech, on sight and colors, 
on the tide, on the composition of continuous quantity, 
on the motions of animals, and others ; besides, I 
have also an idea of writing some books on the mili- 
tary art, giving not only a model of a soldier, but 
teaching, with very exact rules, all which it is his duty 
to know that depends on mathematics ; as, for in- 
stance, the knowledge of encampment, drawing up 
battalions, fortifications, assaults, planning, surveying, 
the knowledge of artillery, the use of various instru- 
ments, etc. Besides this, I wish to reprint the ' Use ' 
of my geometrical compass, dedicated to his Highness, 
which is entirely out of print. In fact, this instru- 
ment has met with such favor from the public, that 
no others of the kind are ever made ; and I know 
that up to this period some thousands of mine have 
been made. I will not say what an amount of labor 
will be required to fix the periods of the four new 
planets; a task the more laborious the more one 
thinks of it, as they are separated from one another 
only by very brief intervals, and are very similar to 
one another in size and color. 

" So that, Illustrissimo Signore, I must begin to 
think in what way I may free myself from those em- 
ployments which only retard my studies ; particularly 
from those which another might fill quite as well as I 


can : therefore I pray you to propound these consid- 
erations to their Highnesses and to yourself, and ac- 
quaint me with their decision. As to stipend, I should 
be content with the sum you named to me at Pisa, 1 
feeling it to be an honor to be his Highness's servant. 
I say nothing on the amount, being sure that, as I have 
to give up what I get here, the graciousness of his 
Highness will not allow me to be deprived of any of 
those comforts which others enjoy who are less in 
want of them than I ; therefore I say no more on this 
point. Finally, as to the title and pretext by which I 
take service, I would desire that to the title of Math- 
ematician his Highness would be pleased to add that 
of Philosopher, as I profess to have studied a greater 
number of years in philosophy than months in pure 
mathematics. And how I have profited, and if I can 
and ought to merit this title, I may show their High- 
nesses as often as it is their pleasure to give me an 
opportunity of discussing such subjects in their pres- 
ence with those whose knowledge is most esteemed." 
Their Highnesses were not long in coming to a 
decision. Galileo was presented with a gold chain as 
a badge of merit ; the title of Philosopher was gladly 
conceded to him, and endowed with a gratification of 

Galileo M s * wo nunc ^ re< ^ crowns. The first step taken 
by Galileo, after his appointment was fairly 

debt to lad- ' * 

lileo M s 

t to lad- 

deo Gaiietu settled, was to ask for an advancement of 
"dettoLan- the two first years' salary, for the purpose of 
paying off his brother Michelangelo's debt 
to his sisters' husbands. 

Galileo finally quitted Padua in the beginning of the 
autumn. It seems from a letter he wrote to Vincenzo 

1 1,000 Tuscan scudi per ann. A scudo is 10 pauls = 4^ "$d. 

i6io.] LETTER TO GIUGNI. 65 

Giugni in the June preceding his departure, that his 

enemies had been endeavoring to discredit 

him with the Grand Duke ; for he says : 

"Tell his Highness that the discoverer of the new 

planets is none other than Galileo Galilei, Letter to 

his faithful vassal, to whom the observation 

of three nights only was enough to assure 

him of the truth of the discovery, and not secretary. 

the observation of five months, which I have devoted 

to it ; and let him lay aside all hesitation or shadow 

of doubt, for these planets will leave off being true 

planets when the sun leaves off being the secret 

sun. Assure his Highness that these rumors 

owe their existence to malignity and envy, Tuscan y- 

of which I find no lack ; and let not his Highness 

hope to be exempt from it either. 

" But I trust to have found means to stop the mouths 
of the envious and ignorant. The clearest argument 
against them is that they prate in corners, and speak 
vain words, but avoid establishing their conceits with 
pen and ink. But the fruits of this malignity will be 
contrary to its authors' intention ; for so far from an- 
nulling this great discovery by crying out on it as false, 
impossible, contrary to all the ordinances of nature, 
it will only shine out the more sublime, the more to 
be wondered at, and worthy of more esteem than hath 
ever been accorded to any heroic greatness. And 
how this discovery is esteemed, and what an honor is 
thought to be connected with it, let the following letter 
prove, which was written to me by a valued servant of 
his late Majesty of France. It was written on the 2oth 
of last April ; I need hold it secret no longer, since 
1 Galileo to Vincenzo Giugni, June 25, 1610. 


the earthly grandeurs of this monarch are miserably 
passed away. 1 The words are these : 

" ' The second request, and the most pressing I can 
make you, is, that when you discover some other 
beautiful star, you would call it by the name of the 
great Star of France, by far the brightest in all the 
earth, and rather by the name of Henry than by the 
appellation of Bourbon, if it so please you. By so 
doing, you will do a very just, right, and proper thing ; 
you will gain renown, and likewise lasting riches for 
yourself and your family. Of this I can assure you 
on my honor. Therefore, pray discover as soon as 
possible some heavenly body to which his Majesty's 
name may be fitly attached ; and send the intelligence 
of it by letter through Signer Vanlemens, so that we 
may have the very first advice ; and be assured, as if 
his Majesty himself were speaking to you, that you 
will gain infinite content and happiness therefrom.' " 

Galileo concludes: "I pray you therefore to take 
a fitting opportunity to entreat his Highness not to 
retard the flight of fame by showing himself doubtful 
of a thing which he has seen so many times with his 
own eyes." 

We are told how Marie de' Medici, in her eagerness 
Marie de> to see the moon through the telescope, would 
Medici. not wa j t or j t to k e adjusted, but went down 

upon her knees before the window, thereby greatly as- 
tonishing the Italian gentleman who had brought the 
telescope into the royal presence. 2 

From the letters of Martin Hasdale, an Englishman 

1 In allusion to Henry IV.'s assassination on the I4th of May, 

2 Matteo Botti to Galileo, August 18, 1611. 

i6io.] MAGINL 67 

settled at Prague, we get an amusing account of the 
wordy war waged against Galileo. 1 Magini, Martin 
a native of Padua, but professor at Bologna, Hasdale - 
had declared superciliously that Galileo had deceived 
himself or that his telescope had deceived 
him, just in the same way as he (Magini) 
had been for a moment deceived by the sight 
of three suns on the occasion of viewing 
a solar eclipse through some colored spectacles which 
he had made himself. It was utterly ridiculous to sup- 
pose that such a thing could exist as that four planets 
were constantly chasing each other round a larger 
planet ! He would go to Venice soon and procure a 
telescope, in order to make more evident the truth of 
his words. Kepler had declared that Magini's oppo- 
sition arose from mere envy that any Italian should 
by his discoveries gain greater renown than himself. 
Horky, Magini's secretary, had gone so far as to de- 
clare 2 that Galileo had been at Bologna, and had de- 
parted covered with confusion, having been triumph- 
antly defeated in the presence of several people by 
Magini, who had written to Zugmesser, mathematician 
to the Elector of Cologne, and to the principal math- 
ematicians in Europe, in the hope of inducing them to 
take his side of the question. Hasdale says Martin 
that Magini wished to be the phoenix of his letter. 
profession, and that besides the opposition to Galileo, 
prompted by his own envious feelings, he was sus- 
pected of being under the influence of the Jesuits, who, 
since their banishment from the Venetian territory in 
1606, had nourished a deep hatred to the whole body 

1 Martin Hasdale to Galileo, April 28, 1610. 

2 Ibid., May 31, 1610. 


of lay professors in Padua. The Lucchese ambassa- 
dor and others had behaved insultingly to Hasdale, 
calling him " Lutheran," because he had so warmly un- 
dertaken Galileo's defense ; and had declared they 
would rather go wrong by believing with Magini than 
go right by holding an opinion put forth by any one 
else. Kepler, however, was a stout champion for Gal- 
ileo, and such as valued Kepler's good opinion did not 
Martin Hor- venture to oppose him openly. Horky had 
& imagined that Kepler was as much opposed 

to Galileo as his master was, but quickly found out his 
mistake. In a letter to Francesco Sizi he declares : 
" Per Deum vivum hoc tibi dico, quod in aeternum vir 
hie Galileus novas quatuor planetas ostendere non po- 
tent." During Galileo's short stay at Bologna, this 
worthy had taken advantage of his sleeping at Magini's 
house to commit an act of treachery, which he confided 
to Kepler in the expectation of obtaining great credit 
from the latter. " I have contrived," he wrote, " to ob- 
tain a mould of the glass in wax, and when I get home, 
I intend, please God, to make a telescope as good or 
Martin even better than Galileo's." In another let- 
"e^ndence ter to Kepler * he declares that he will never 
with Kepier. concede to that Italian his four planets ; he 
will die first. " At Italo illo Patavino quatuor novas 
planetos in Nuncio suo, vel cum capitis mei periculo 
non ce dam." He was going to print a book 
wn i cn should quickly dispose of Galileo and 
his pretensions. This book was published 


peregrinatio betore Horky had received any answer to the 

^uncium various letters he had written to Kepler on 

nupcr the subject. It was divided into four parts, 

1 Martin Horky to Kepler, April 27, 1610. 

i6io.] HORKY. 69 

in which the question of the existence of the emissum 

a Lralileo 

new planets was successively treated, much Gaiueo, 

. - , Mutince," 

to the satisfaction of the author, who never 1610. 
doubted but that he was about to draw down on him- 
self the applause of all the scientific world. Part the 
first was devoted to the examination of the proofs of 
the existence or non-existence of the new planets. The 
questions, What they are? What they are like? and 
Why they are ? were successively treated. To this last 
question which Horky imagined to be a proper termi- 
nation to his book, since the obvious answer to it was 
that as astrologers had done very well without these 
new planets hitherto, there could be no reason for their 
thus starting into existence Wedderburn, a Scotch- 
man then studying at Padua, answered with the dry 
humor of his nation, that the evident use of the new 
planets was to torment and put to confusion Horky and 
all superstitious astrologers. 

On receiving the last of Horky's diatribes, Kepler 
had written him an indignant letter, declaring KepieSs 
that he would have no further dealings with '****" 
him, and advising him, if he valued his liberty, to leave 
Pavia, where Horky, under the protection of the Jesuits, 
was preparing another work in confutation of Galileo ; 
telling him that he had informed the authorities there 
of his being a Lutheran. This, whether true or false, 
would be enough to render a residence in Italy unsafe 
at that time. This letter missed Horky, who had no 
idea of Kepler's real feeling towards him, and shortly 
afterwards presented himself at Kepler's house, uncon- 
scious of the storm of indignation ready to burst upon 
him. On perceiving his mistake, Horky, wishing at all 
hazards to preserve Kepler's friendship, confessed his 


folly, and excused himself by declaring that he was in- 
duced to write by people in authority, that is, by Magini. 
Moved by the fellow's abject entreaties, Kepler at 
length not only forgave him, but endeavored to obtain 
Galileo's pardon also, on the condition, as he wrote to 
Galileo, " that he should let him (Kepler) show him the 
satellites, and that he was to see them and own they 
were there." 

Roffeni, who was professor of philosophy at Bologna, 
Gioan endeavored to prove to Galileo that Magini 

Antonio was j n no wav anwerable for Horky's inso- 

Koj/eni s J J 

letter. lence j and that on hearing that Horky had 

ventured to print a book in confutation of the " Nuncius 
Sidereus," he had instantly dismissed him from his ser- 
vice. Roffeni took great pains to assure Galileo that, 
if Horky brought out his book after what Magini had 
said to him, it would be merely a proof of the obstinacy 
natural to Germans, not of the complicity of Magini or 
any other professor at Bologna. One of Roifeni's letters 
on this affair of Horky is so characteristic of the times 
that we venture to give an extract from it. 1 " Since 
the day that Magini drove Horky from his house, I 
have not seen the miserable wretch. However. I set 
one to watch for him, and this person informed me that 
he had seen and spoken to him. I desired to take care 
and not lose sight of him, but to follow him till he got 
beyond the Bolognese territory, and then take from him 
all his books, and leave him instead thereof a good 
Horky reminder. But Horky evidently suspected 
(noting. something, for he went off secretly, but with- 
out his books, which he had left at Baldassere Capra's 
house, where he lodged when he was at Pavia. He 
1 Gioan Antonio Roffeni to Galileo, July 6, 1610. 

i6io.] SATURN'S RING. 71 

was heard to say that he knew that I and Magini in- 
tended to do him a mischief, but that he was going 
where he should fear nobody. Believe me, Signor 
Galileo, it was a piece of luck for Horky that he knew 
by sight certain honest fellows with whom he had seen 
me in conversation ; for finding himself followed by 
some of them, he managed to disappear." 

Contrary to Roffeni's expectation, Galileo did not 
consider Horky even worth a beating. He had at one 
time intended to answer his book, but quickly gave 
up this intention on being assured by Kepler that it 
was a production totally unworthy of a reply. While 
Hasdale, Kepler, RofTeni, and the rest, were disputing 
with Clavio, Horky, and others of his opponents, 
Galileo wisely pursued his observations with the tel- 
escope. He was before long (in July) re- Discovery 
warded by the discovery of Saturn's ring, 
and a few months after (in October) by that 
of the phases of Venus. Both these dis- 
coveries were announced to his particular l6ia 
friends anagrammatically, and they were invited to 
give a solution. Galileo's reason for adopting such a 
puerility was that, by announcing his discoveries in 
this manner, he saw less risk of being robbed of his 
right to them. Kepler endeavored to read the ana- 
gram referring to the ring of Saturn, but read it wrong, 
presupposing it to have some reference to the planet 
Mars. At the request of the Emperor Rudolf, Galileo 
sent the true reading : " Altissimum Planetam ter- 
geminum observavi." The discovery of the phases of 
Venus was felt by Galileo to be highly important, as 
containing in it the solution of that vast problem, the 
truth or falsity of the Copernican system. 


It was not till after this third great discovery, that 
Tardy rcc- the Jesuits, with Father Clavio, Rector of 
tiTs e l dis- the Roman College, at their head, at last 

s. deigned to confess the existence of the satel- 
lites of Jupiter. Clavio had declared so late as October, 
1 6 10, " that he laughed at the idea of these four new 
planets ; that to see them, they must first be put inside 
the telescope ; and that he should hold to his opinion, 
and let Galileo hold his too, and welcome." 

By this time, however, Galileo had less anxiety for 
the adherence, and less desire for the good opinion, of 
such men. Speaking of the death of Libri, one of the 
professors at Pisa, whose opposition had been some- 
what violent, he observes, with quiet irony : " Libri 
did not choose to see my celestial trifles while he 
was on earth perhaps he will now he is gone to 
heaven." * 

Convinced of the treasure he possessed in Galileo, 
the Grand Duke not only offered him a choice of 
any of the grand-ducal villas in the neighborhood of 
Florence, in order to relieve him from the necessity 
of living in the city, where he never enjoyed a day's 
health, but he also gave him permission to go to Rome 
for the purpose of showing his discoveries. This 
Galileo goes journey, delayed for some months in conse- 
Marck, i6n. quence of Galileo's ill-health, was under- 
taken at length towards the end of March, 1611, at 
the Grand Duke's expense. Galileo was lodged first 
at the ambassador's residence, and then at the Palazzo 
Medici in the Trinita de' Monti, as the Grand Duke's 
guest. Here, and in the gardens of the Quirinal, did 

1 Galileo, in a letter of which the address is wanting, but bear- 
ing the date of December 17, 1610. 

i6n.] SOLAR SPOTS. 73 

Galileo display his u celestial novelties," as they were 
styled, the satellites, Saturn's ring, and the phases of 
Venus, to a crowd of Cardinals and Mon- Discovery 
signori, adding his latest discovery, that of ^ot* March 
the solar spots. The honor of this discovery l6ll> 
was claimed by a Jesuit named Scheiner, Professor of 
Mathematics at the University of Ingolstadt, who 
published three letters to Welser, under the pseudo- 
nym of Apelles, exposing his theory, namely, that 
the spots were due to the passing of certain stars or 
planets across the face of the sun. Galileo's reply 
consisted of three letters to Welser, which, indeed, 
were brought forth by a request of the latter to know 
Galileo's real opinion of the theory held by a person 
calling himself Apelles. These answers Father 
were published at the expense of the Lyn- 
cean Academy, of which the president was 
Prince Cesi. and of which Galileo had be- 

' of the solar 

come a member on this visit to Rome, " in s P ts - 
order," as the report of the Academy set forth, " to 
mark their sense of the merit of the book, and the 
claim of Galileo to be regarded as the first discov- 
erer." This, of course, did not lessen the animosity 
of Scheiner, and of the body to which he belonged, 
who could not brook aught that savored of public 

In the summer and autumn of 1611, during intervals 
of severe indisposition, Galileo had written "Lettere 

tntorno le 

two pamphlets in the usual form of letters, 

, Lunare 

to Griemberger and Gallanzoni, on the lunar written July 
appearances. These had been followed up by ?6n. e 
a " Discourse on Floating Bodies," which, when printed 
in the year following, aroused the most vio- "Discourse 

, . . , T . ... , on Floating 

lent opposition. Viviani relates that the Bodies, 1612 


whole 'host of Peripatetics rose to do battle with the 
theories advanced in this work, and that the 

Opposition. . . , _ 

press teemed with refutations and apologies 
by Colombe, Grazia, Palmerini, and others. Galileo, 
Refutations in reference to the controversy occasioned 
' iy by his book, declared that ignorance had 
nd been the best master he had ever had ; for 
'" that in order to demonstrate to his adver- 
saries the truth of his conclusions, he had been forced 
to prove them by such a variety of experiments as 
made him doubly confident, though to satisfy his own 
intellect alone, he had never felt it necessary to make 


Marina Gamba. Bartoluzzi. Galileo's Daughters. Cardinal 
del Monte Abbess Ludovica. Taking the Veil. Bene- 
detto Castelli. Gradual Revival of the Copernican Doctrine. 
Archduchess Christina. Caccini. Lorini. Denuncia- 
tion. Fra Luigi Maraffi. The Index. Guicciardini's Let- 
ter. Galileo's Defense. Interview with the Pope. Pic- 
chena's Warning. Negotiations with Spain. Argensola's 

GALILEO was never married. By his mistress, Marina 
Gamba, a Venetian of the lower class, he %%% 
had three children : Polissena, born in 1601 : P? 1 ****** 

Galtlet, born 

Virginia, who is supposed to have been next !& ; vir- 

J 17" U 'A * *""*' Vin ' 

m age ; and Vmcenzio, born in August cenzto, bom 
I606. 1 It appears probable, though not JP*^ 
certain, that when Galileo quitted Padua in the au- 
tumn of 1610, he took the two elder children with 
him. We may presume they were placed for the time 
under the care of their grandmother. Vincenzio was 
left with his mother till October, 1612, when Galileo 
had him brought to Florence. Shortly afterward 
Marina married a well-to-do man in her own station 
of life ; one Giovanni Bartoluzzi, who was Giovanni 
employed in some way by the Delfino family. Bartoluzzi. 
This step we may believe to have been taken with 
Galileo's entire concurrence, judging from the tone 
of respectful cordiality of the only letter of Giovanni 

1 This boy was legitimated by the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 


Bartoluzzi found among the Galileian papers. 1 The 
eldest daughter of Marina Gamba and Galileo is here 
mentioned in terms of warm affection. It also appears 
from this letter, and from two others, written by Liceti 2 
and Pignoria, 8 that Galileo behaved with great liberality 
both to Bartoluzzi and to Marina Gamba. 

The year before Galileo's final departure from Padua, 
he had had an intention of placing his eldest daughter 
as a boarder in the Convent of La Nunziatina at Flor- 
ence. It is not known why this intention, of which 
all the preliminaries were settled, was not carried into 
effect. For some time after his arrival at Florence, 
Don An- Galileo was the guest of Don Antonio de' 
to /ranco f L Medici at his villa at Marignolle. Later he 
a ca/ e !?o nca took U P his abode at the Villa delle Selve, 
near Signa, the property of his friend Filip- 
po Salviati. It was not till after Salviati's 
death in 1614 that he fixed his residence at 
I6l 4- Bellosguardo, at the Villa Segni (now Villa 

Albizzi), where he remained till i63i. 4 It is possible 
that his mother's temper, 5 as well as her age and in- 
firmities, may have had an influence in the decision 

1 Giovanni Bartoluzzi to Galileo, August 17, 1619. 

2 Fortunio Liceti to Galileo, December 31, 1610. 

3 Lorenzo Pignoria to Galileo, January 25, 1613. 

4 In Galileo's Book of Ricordi, there is the following memo- 
randum : " Laus Deo- Mem. : That in the year 1617, on the 
1 5th day of August, I returned to the villa at Bellosguardo, 
which I have taken for five years of Signor Lorenzo Segni, paying 
100 scudi^. ann" 

6 Michelangelo Galilei, writing to Galileo, October 10, 1619, 
says : " I hear with no small wonder that our mother is so ter- 
rible ; but as she is so much aged, it cannot last very long ; and 
then there will be an end to quarreling." 


taken by Galileo in 1611 of placing both his daughters 
in a convent for life. 

But he did not wish to separate the two sisters ; and 
hence arose a great difficulty. Pope Leo XL (Ales- 
sandro Ottaviano de' Medici), when Cardinal, had ob- 
tained a brief to prevent two sisters taking the veil in 
the same convent in Florence. Cardinal del Monte 1 
offered to use his influence with the Congregation of 
Bishops and Regulars, or, if necessary, with the Pope 
(Paul V.), to obtain a dispensation for the admittance 
of both the children into one convent. There was 
another difficulty in the way, namely, that in case the 
number of nuns was already complete in the convent 
chosen by Galileo, the dowry must be doubled for both 
daughters. This difficulty was insurmountable or not, 
according to the length of Galileo's purse. But the 
third difficulty was insuperable. No grace could be 
obtained for the removal of the restriction of age j and 
Polissena, the eldest girl, was but ten years old. It 
appears from Cardinal del Monte's letter of Cardinal 
the 1 6th December, 1611, how strongly Gali- ^ IM ^- 
leo desired to place his daughters in a convent. He 
says : " In answer to your letter concerning your 
daughters' claustration, I had fully understood that you 
did not wish them to take the veil immediately, but 
that you wished them to be received on the under- 
standing that they were to assume the religious habit 
as soon as they reached the canonical age. 2 But as I 
have written to you before, even this is not allowed, for 

1 Cardinal del Monte to Galileo, November n, 1611. 

2 The text of the Canon is as follows : Sess. xxv-, cap. 15 : 
"In quacumque religione, tarn virorum, quam mulierum pro- 
fessio non fiat ante decimum sextum annum expletum ; nee qui 


many reasons ; in particular, that it might give rise 
The Council to ^ e exerc i se of undue influence by those 
of Trent w h o w i s hed the young persons to take the veil 

taia down . 

the general f or reasons of their own. This rule is never 

rule that no 

one of either broken, and never will be, by the Sacred 
take the Congregation. When they have reached the 

vows until . , , i i . i 

fuUy 16 canonical age, they may be accepted with 
years of age. the or( j mar y dowry, unless the sisterhood 

already has the prescribed number; if such be the 
case, it will be necessary to double the dowry. Vacan- 
cies may not be rilled up by anticipation under severe 
penalties, that of deprivation for the Abbess in partic- 
ular, as you may see in a Decretal of Pope Clement 
of the year 1604." 

Del Monte finishes by assuring Galileo that if there 
had been the slightest chance of success, he would 
have used his influence to obtain a dispensation. 
Whether he felt that his influence was not strong 
Galileo enough, or did not choose to use it in Gali- 
a f ordinal ^ eo ' s behalf, is not quite clear. Galileo sought 
Bandini. the aid of Cardinal Bandini, and having 
through his good offices obtained a dispensation of age, 
was enabled, in October, 1613, to place his 
daughters in the Convent of St. Matthew at 
e convenfof Arcctri, with a view to their taking the veil. 
si '.Matthew, At this time a sister of Secretary Vinta was 

at A rcetn, J 

Oct. 1613. Abbess of St. Matthew. She seems to have 
felt a kindly interest in these unfortunate children. 
Tfcw ke They to k tne ve il m ^e autumn of 1 6 14, Pol- 
1614. ' lisena, the eldest, being but thirteen years of 
minore tempore, quam per annum post susceptum habitum pro- 
batione steterit, ad professionem admittatur. Professio autem 
antea facta, fit nulla ; nullam que inducat obligationem ad alicujus 
regulas, vel religionis, vel ordinis observationem, aut ad alios 
quoscunque effectus." 


age. By Abbess Ludovica's suggestion, the feasting 
usual on such an occasion was dispensed with. It 
would be better in every way, she wrote to Galileo, 
for the ceremony to take place quietly ; and any money 
which he might have to spend would be far better em- 
ployed in increasing his daughters' comfort than in 
regaling a host of friends and relatives. 1 

In 1613, Benedetto Castelli was nominated to the 
mathematical lectureship of Pisa. The echo Benedetto 
of Galileo's two watchwords, Analysis, In- Casteiu. 
vestigation, still resounded in the ears of the Univer- 
sity authorities ; for it was thought necessary to warn 
Castelli, before his inaugural lecture could take place, 
that the theory of the earth's motion (of which the prob- 
ability had been whispered since Galileo's discovery 
of the satellites of Jupiter) was to be passed over in 
profound silence, as well as any theory or argument in 
any way appertaining thereto. Castelli was as sincerely 
Copernican at heart as his master Galileo ; but he 
knew the men with whom he had to deal, and framed 
his answer prudently, for Galileo's sake as well as for 
his own. " I answered Monsignor," 2 he says, " in 
these exact words : ' What your lordship commands 
me (and I shall take care to observe) my master, Sig- 
nor Galileo himself, has already advised, whose coun- 
sel will always be listened to respectfully by eastern's 
me, particularly as I know that during the 
four-and-twenty years he has been a pro- 
fessor he has never discussed such subjects ^ni^ 
as those you mention.' To which his lord- of Pisa. 
ship answered that I might perhaps have spoken on 

1 Abbess Ludovica Vinta to Galileo, July 2, 1614. 

2 Arturo d'Elci, Provveditore of the University. 


the probability of the truth of the theory in my pri- 
vate capacity. I answered that I should have abstained 
from so doing even had he not warned me." l 

During the winter sojourn of the Court at Pisa, 
Castelli was admitted to the Grand Ducal table, and 
invited to take part in discussing scientific matters 
with the Serene Highnesses. The Grand Duchess 
Christina would be learned, but would above all things 
be orthodox. Father Caccini had been preaching a 
FraTomma- course of Advent sermons at Santa Maria 
Dominican, Novella, taking for his subject the Book of 
ofjesk**. Joshua. On the Fourth Sunday in Advent, 
having to expound the tenth chapter, he had taken oc- 
casion to inveigh against the already eighty years old 
doctrine of Copernicus, now revived by Galileo and 
reechoed by his followers, by this time so numerous as to 
be styled the " sect " of the Galileists. Against this sect 
a few of the most bigoted and ignorant of the monks in 
Florence had formed a league. The depth of their 
ignorance may be gauged from the fact that Lorini the 
Dominican did not so much as know who or 

what Copernicus was, but styles him " this 
Ipernico, or whatever his name may be." Well might 
Galileo complain that such calumniators as these should 
have power to bring him under ecclesiastical censure ! 
But the monks, having possession of the bare fact that 
one " Ipernico " wished to make the earth move in 
opposition to the Bible, supplied their want of other 
necessary information by loud denunciation of " Iper- 
nico," his books, which they had not read, the science 
of mathematics, which they knew not, and Galileo, 
whom they had not seen. It is barely possible that, 
1 Benedetto Castelli to Galileo, November 6, 1613. 


had they known that Copernicus was a Canon of the 
Church, who had been called to Rome by Leo X. 
while the Council of the Lateran was sitting, for the 
express purpose of remodeling the ecclesiastical 
calendar, they might have proceeded with more caution. 
But hearsays were to them all-sufficient. The very 
fact of their being the first to raise the cry, "The 
Church is in danger," gave them an advantage over 
men who were sober inquirers after the truth of the so- 
called new doctrine. Her belief in Galileo's Archduchess 
transcendent genius for a moment shaken chrlstlna - 
by the violent denunciations of the Dominican monk, 
Christina explained her doubts to Castelli. Castelli, 
rejoiced to have an opportunity of defending his master's 
opinions, put forth his strength to convince her High- 
ness of the truth of the Copernican doctrine in a dis- 
course which must have been of the nature of an im- 
promptu lecture, for we are told that the discussion, 
which was opened by her Highness at dinner, was 
continued by her desire after she had retired to her 
private apartment, and that Castelli spoke at great 
length, and to the satisfaction not of her Highness 
only, but of the Grand Duke and his consort, Mag- 
dalen of Austria, and of Don Antonio de' Medici, who 
was present. 1 But though the Serene mind was 

1 Letter of Father Benedetto Castelli to Galileo, December 14, 

" On Thursday I dined at their Highnesses' table. The Grand 
Duke asked me how my lectures were attended. I entered into 
various minute particulars, with which he appeared much pleased. 
He asked whether I had a telescope. I answered that I had ; 
and with this I gave an account of my observation of the Medi- 
cean planets the preceding night; and Madama Serenissima* 

* Christina of Lorraine, widow of Ferdinand I. and mother of Cosmo II. 



satisfied for the nonce, other doubts might arise which 
might not be so easily set at rest ; and Castelli the 

inquired their position. And hereupon some began to say that 
indeed these must be realities, and not deceptions of the instru- 
ment ; and their Highnesses began to question Dr. Boscaglia, 
the professor of physics, who answered that the existence of these 
planets could not be denied. I took occasion to add what I knew 
of your wonderful invention, and of your having fixed the periods 
of revolution of the said planets. Don Antonio was at table, who 
showed by his countenance how much pleased he felt with what 
I said. At length, after many solemn ceremonies, dinner came 
to an end, and I took leave ; but scarcely had I quitted the 
palace when Madama Serenissima's porter came after me, and 
called me back. But before I narrate what followed, I ought to 
tell you that during dinner Boscaglia was talking privately to 
Madama for a while ; and he said that, if it were conceded that 
the celestial novelties discovered by you were realities, then only 
the motion of the earth was incredible, and could not be, for the 
reason that Holy Scripture was manifestly contrary to it. 

" To return : I entered her Highness's apartment, where were 
the Grand Duke, Madama the Archduchess,* Don Antonio, Don 
Paolo Giordano, and Dr. Boscaglia. Here Madama, after a few 
inquiries as to my condition in life, began to argue against me 
with the help of the Holy Scripture ; and I, after making a 
proper protest, began a theological exposition in such a masterly 
manner that you would have been delighted to hear me. Don 
Antonio helped me, and so encouraged me that, though the 
majesty of their Highnesses was enough to appall me, I behaved 
like a paladin. The Grand Duke and the Archduchess were on 
my side, and Don Paolo Giordano brought forward a passage of 
Scripture very opportunely in my defense. So that at length 
Madama Serenissima was the only one who contradicted me, 
but it was in such a manner that I -judged she only did it to draw 
me out Signer Boscaglia said nothing either the one way or the 

" All the particulars of this audience, which lasted two hours, 
shall be told your lordship by Signer Nicolb Arrighetti. But I 
ought to tell you that, as I was praising you, Don Antonio joined 
* Magdalen of Austria, the wife of Cosmo II. 


disciple needed strengthening and confirming at the 
hands of the master. Galileo, in his letter Galileo's 

. letter to 

to him on the Copermcan system/ declares Casteiu. 

in, in what way you may imagine ; and when I had taken leave, 
he offered me his services in the most princely manner, and 
desired me to give you an account of what had taken place, and 
what he had said ; and said in these very words : Write thou 
to Signer Galileo that I have made thy acquaintance, and tell 
him what I said in her Highness's chamber.' " 

X Letter of Galileo to Father Benedetto Castelli, Professor of 
Mathematics at Pisa, 1613 : 

" It seems to me that it was well said by Madama Serenissima, 
and insisted on by your reverence, that the Holy Scriptures can- 
not err, and that the decrees therein contained are absolutely 
true and inviolable. But I should in your place have added that, 
though Scripture cannot err, its expounders and interpreters are 
liable to err in many ways ; and one error in particular would be 
most grave and most frequent, if we always stopped short at the 
literal signification of the words. For in this wise not only many 
contradictions would be apparent, but grave heresies and blas- 
phemies. For then it would be necessary to give God hands 
and feet and ears, and human and bodily emotions, such as anger, 
repentance, hatred, and sometimes forgetfulness of things past, 
and ignorance of the future. And in Scripture there are found 
many propositions which, taking the bare sense of the words, 
appear contrary to the truth ; but they are placed there in such 
wise in order to accommodate themselves to the capacity of the 
vulgar ; so that for those few who merit to be separated from the 
plebeian crowd, it is necessary for wise expositors to produce 
the true meaning, and to explain the particular reasons for which 
they have been thus worded. It being laid down, therefore, that 
Scripture is not only capable of divers interpretations, but that in 
many places it requires an interpretation differing from the appa- 
rent meaning of the words, it seems to me that in mathematical 
disputes it must be interpreted according to the latter mode. 
Holy Scripture and nature are both emanations from the Divine 
word ; the former dictated by the Holy Spirit, the latter, the 
executrix of God's commands. Holy Scripture has to be accom- 
modated to the common understanding in many things which 


that Scripture does not even accord with the Ptolemaic 
system, and further insists that God gave us the holy 

differ in reality from the terms used in speaking of them. But 
Nature being, on the contrary, inexorable and immutable, and 
caring not one jot whether her secret reasons and modes of 
operation be above or below the capacity of men's understanding, 
it appears that, as she never transgresses her own laws, those 
natural effects which the experience of the senses places before 
our eyes, or which we infer from adequate demonstration, are in 
no wise to be revoked because of certain passages of Scripture, 
which may be turned and twisted into a thousand different mean- 
ings. For Scripture is not bound to such severe laws as those 
by which nature is ruled. For this reason alone, that is, to 
accommodate itself to the capacities of rustic and undisciplined 
men, Scripture has not abstained from veiling in shadow its prin- 
cipal dogmas, attributing to God himself conditions differing 
from and contrary to the Divine essence. And who can assert 
or sustain that, in speaking incidentally of the sun, or of the 
earth, or of other created bodies, Scripture should have elected 
to restrain itself rigorously to the strict signification of the words 
used ? May it not be, that, had the truth been represented to us 
bare and naked, its intention would have been annulled, from the 
vulgar being thereby rendered more contumacious and difficult 
of persuasion in the articles concerning their -salvation ? This, 
then, being conceded, and it being manifest that two truths can- 
not be contrary to each other, it becomes the office of wise 
expounders to labor till they find how to make these passages of 
Holy Writ concordant with those conclusions, of which either 
necessary demonstration or the evidence of our senses have 
made us sure and certain. ... As we cannot be certain that 
the interpreters are all divinely inspired, I think it would be pru- 
dent if men were forbidden to employ passages of Scripture for 
the purpose of sustaining what our senses or demonstrated proof 
may manifest to be the contrary. Who can set bounds to the 
mind of man ? Who dares assert that he already knows all that 
in this universe is knowable ? And on this account, beyond the 
articles concerning salvation and the stability of the faith, against 
the unchangeableness of which there is no danger of any valid 
and efficacious innovation being introduced, it would perhaps be 

1613-15-] THE DENUNCIATION. 85 

f . 

Scriptures to teach us those things that are necessary 
to salvation, but not to teach us that which may be 
learnt x by the proper exercise of our senses, also a 
gift from Him. 

y A copy of this letter to Castelli, written by Galileo, 
as he says, currents calamo, and merely with a view to 
his friend's private satisfaction, was obtained either by 
indiscretion or treachery, by the latter Galileo him- 
self believed, and thus fell into the hands of the Do- 
minicans of the Convent of St. Mark, whose horror at 
its contents could only be appeased by taking meas- 
ures for the speedy burning of its author. Animated 
by this motive, the fathers of St. Mark held a chapter 
extraordinary over the heretical manuscript. Lorini 
Tof Lorini was formally delegated the task 
off denouncing it to the Holy Office, the 
r/ost damnable passages being first carefully Feb - s> l6i s- 

best to counsel that none should be added unnecessarily ; and if 
it be so, how much greater the disorder to add to these articles 
at the demand of persons who, though they may be divinely 
inspired, yet we see clearly that they are destitute of the intelli- 
gence necessary, not merely to disprove, but to understand, 
those demonstrations by which scientific conclusions are con- 

" I believe that the intention of Holy Writ was to persuade 
men of the truths necessary to salvation ; such as neither science 
nor other means could render credible, but only the voice of the 
Holy Spirit. But I do not think it necessary to believe that the 
same God who gave us our senses, our speech, our intellect, 
would have us put aside the use of these, to teach us instead 
such things as with their help we could find out for ourselves, 
particularly in the case of these sciences, of which there is not 
the smallest mention in the Scripture ; and, above all, in astron- 
omy, of which so little notice is taken that the names of all the 
planets are not mentioned. Surely if the intention of the sacred 
writers had been to teach the people astronomy, they would not 
have passed the subject over so completely/' 


underlined. It is to be noticed that in Lorini's letter 
of denunciation he complains, not only that the Gali- 
leists expound Holy Writ after their own manner and 
not after the method approved by the Fathers, not only 
that they speak with scant reverence of the ancient 
Fathers and of St. Thomas, but also that they utterly 
impugn and condemn the whole philosophy of Aris- 
totle, so much in use by the Schoolmen. The contro- 
versy, begun from the pulpit of Santa Maria Novella, 
had spread and raged hotly throughout Florence. The 
preacher at the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, a 
Jesuit, had undertaken to show that Copernicus was 
right, that the Galileists and their master were good 
Catholics, and that Caccini and the Dominicans were 
CaccinPs ignorant fools. Nothing daunted, Caccini 
invectives, ^ad continued his invectives from the pulpit 
of Santa Maria Novella, dividing his discourse on one 
occasion into two heads, namely, that mathematics 
was a diabolical art, and that mathematicians, being 
authors of every heresy, ought to be exiled from all 
Christian states, and making use of the text, "Ye 
men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven ? " 
in order to attract the Florentines, always ready to 
enjoy the fun of a play upon words. 

This last piece of insolence had made Galileo lose 
F Luigi patience for a moment, and he had written 
to Fra Luigi Maraffi, then general of the 
Dominicans, to complain of Caccini's unseemly con- 
duct. Maraffi, who greatly esteemed Galileo, had 
written back in reply that the sermon had been 
preached without his knowledge or consent, that he 
was greatly mortified that a Dominican should have 
committed such a piece of foolery, and felt it a deep 


disgrace to himself to be implicated in the ill-behavior 
of thirty or forty thousand monks. He declared that 
if it were possible he would make Caccini retract what 
he had ventured to say from the pulpit, and that at 
least he would express his own opinion of him both 
orally and by letter. " I will say no more," he con- 
cluded, " for fear of expressing myself too strongly, 
and therein will take example by your own modest 
and temperate note to me." 1 

But the harm was done, and Marafn's good will and 
fair words could not undo it. 

Caccini was called to Rome in the March following, 
and interrogated by the Holy Office. Not cacdnfs 
only was he required to give evidence on e t ^March 
what Galileo had writen, but on what his fol- 5> l6l5- 
lowers had said; of whom it is more than probable 
that their zeal sometimes outran their discretion. 
Even the public report respecting Galileo's sayings 
and teachings was considered fit matter for the ears of 
this venerable and awful assembly : on the The Congre- 

... . i r Ji -L gation of the 

principle, it may be supposed, of there being index. 
no smoke without fire. Thus, Caccini deposed that 
the reverend Father Ximenes, Chancellor of Santa Ma- 
ria Novella, had once told him in conversation that he 
had heard some Galileists utter the following proposi- 
tions : God is not substance, but accident. God is a 
sensitive being. The miracles attributed to the saints 
are not true miracles. Not only were Galileo's reputa- 
tion, profession, and birthplace the subject of inquiry, 
but Caccini was required to state such hearsays as 
were current among the monks concerning his inti- 

1 Fra Luigi Maraffi to Galileo, January 10, 1615. 


macy with suspected persons. Thus, Lorini had said, 
Galileo ac- anc [ Ximenes had corroborated it, that Gali- 

cused of m m ' 

being on leo was in the habit of corresponding with 


terms with Fra Paolo Sarpi, so famous in Venice for 

Fro. Paolo . . . . , 

Sarpi. his impiety. 1 

The fact of the preacher of the cathedral having 
preached against Caccini's exposition of the Book of 
Joshua was naturally too important to be omitted ; 
especially as Caccini was inwardly convinced (it is not 
clear why) that Galileo's disciples had persuaded him 
to it. In answer to the demand whether he had not 
some reason for being inimical to Galileo, he declared 
that not only he felt no ill-will against Galileo (whom 
he had never seen) or against his disciples, Attavanti 
and the rest, but on the contrary he prayed for them. 
Attavanti was the name of a young priest whom " he 
thought Ximenes had mentioned as having held the 
propositions relating to the nature and substance of 
God." It appeared, on Attavanti's examination, that 
Caccini had listened to his conversation with Ximenes 
through a wooden partition, and had heard imperfectly, 
as they were neither discussing Galileo nor his doc- 
trines ! Neither was Attavanti a disciple, but only an 
acquaintance of Galileo. 

In Lorini's letter of denunciation, and Caccini's 
deposition, which followed it closely in date 
anc ^ substance, we see the first germs of the 
deposition, memorable trial of 1633. For false charity, 
for false humility, for cant, in a word, it is probable 
that these two documents stand unrivaled. Lorini 
had denounced Galileo on the 5th of February. On 

1 He was suspected (most unjustly) of a leaning towards Lu- 


the 26th, Cardinal Mellini ordered the Secretary of 
the Congregation of the Index to write to the 
Archbishop and Inquisitor of Pisa, to pro- 
cure dexterously and forward to Rome the f Rome - 
original letter of Galileo to Castelli on the Copernican 
system, of which Lorini had only handed in a copy. 
The Archbishop thereupon sent for Castelli, and re- 
quested to be favored with the original, alleging, as a 
reason for this request, curiosity and their common 
friendship for the writer. Castelli had returned the 
letter to Galileo, but wrote to ask for it, suspecting 
nothing. Galileo delayed in giving his friend an an- 
swer, and the Archbishop wrote to inquire of Mellini 
whether he wished him to explain himself Francesco 


more clearly to Castelli. The answer was Archbishop 
in the negative. Meanwhile, Galileo's sus- "endeavors to 

111 lit -i i i obtain the 

picions had been roused by the Archbishop s letter by 
earnest desire to possess the original, and unJ^ 9 ' 
he sent a copy without signature to Castelli, desiring 
him not to let it out of his hands. This injunction 
Castelli took care to observe. He satisfied the soi- 
disanficuriosity of the Archbishop and of some canons 
of the cathedral by reading the letter aloud, but, as he 
tells Galileo in his letter of the gth of April, he was 
careful not to let it out of his own hands. 

Galileo, being warned of the league formed against 
him, and of the use which was being made of his 
letter to Castelli, wrote in self-defense to Monsignor 
Dini, declaring that if his enemies charged him with 
heresy, it was because they had willfully misunderstood 
his letter, or, what was more likely, had only a spuri- 
ous copy of it. He therefore sent him a true copy, 
begging him to take the opinion of Father Griem- 


berger 1 on it, and also, if he should think fit, to sub- 
mit it to Cardinal Bellarmine. 

His correspondence with Dini is, if possible, more 
Galileo's remarkable than the famous letter on the 

letters in _ , . 

defense of Copermcan system addressed a year later 
<*nttory. to the Grand Duchess Christina. Though 
Galileo was at the time severely tried by illness, there 
is not a trace of carelessness in his style, nor a single 
argument omitted which might serve to support the 
Copernican theory. Determined to fight his adver- 
saries with their own weapons, he adduced, in his let- 
ters to Dini and to the Grand Duchess, not only verses 
in the Psalms which supported his own views, but also 
various passages in the writings of St. Dionysius the 
Areopagite, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, Tertullian, and 
others. But so much learning availed not with those 
who had already prejudged him. The Grand Duke 
wrote a recommendatory letter with his own hand to 
Galileo goes Cardinal del Monte. 2 By the advice of 
o m 's Highness and of Monsignor Dini, who 
ss warmly espoused his cause, Galileo went to 
k ' Rome to P lead for himself and for the Co- 
Copemican pernican doctrine. But 8 though he counted 


Dec. 1615. numerous friends among the cardinals and 

1 Professor of Mathematics at the Collegio Romano. 

2 Cosmo II. to Cardinal del Monte, November 28, 1615: 

" Galileo, a mathematician well known to your illustrious lord- 
ship, informs me that, having felt himself deeply aggrieved by the 
calumnies which have been spread by certain envious persons, 
to wit, that his writings contain erroneous opinions, he has of his 
own accord (spontaneamente] resolved to go to Rome, and has 
for this purpose asked my permission, having a mind to clear 
himself from such imputations." 

8 Monsignor Ciampoli to Galileo, March 21, 1615 : 

" The great rumors which were supposed to be circulating here 

1615.] GALILEO AT ROME. 91 

learned ecclesiastics, not to speak of the host of lay- 
men whose adherence he had gained, the Dominican's 
ignorance eventually gained the day. It had at one 
time appeared that Lorini, not Galileo, was EVU reports 
to be put to confusion ; therefore, in order ? 
to strengthen their cause, the Dominicans c c "^-~ 
spread reports that Galileo had fallen into Galileo. 
disgrace with the Grand Duke, and that he had been 
ordered to live at his villa and not appear in Florence. 
It was also hinted that Galileo had been guilty of other 
crimes besides heresy, and that the Grand Duke would 
see him punished with much pleasure. 

have, to the best of my belief, not gone farther than to the ears 
of four or five people at the most. Monsignor Dini and I have 
both been trying to find out whether there was much stir, but it 
appears that the matter is not being talked of at all ; and there- 
fore the report that all Rome was talking about it must have 
been invented by the first movers of this fuss (the Dominicans of 

" I and Monsignor Dini were with Cardinal del Monte this 
morning. His Eminence has an extraordinary esteem and liking 
for you. He said he had had a long discussion with Cardinal 
Bellarmine about your aifair. They had come to the conclusion 
that no impediment could be offered to your treating of the Co- 
pernican theory, or offering demonstrations of its truth, as long 
as you keep clear of Holy Scripture ; as the interpretation of 
Scripture must be reserved to such professors of theology as are 
approved by public authority ; but that there would be great 
difficulty in admitting interpretations of passages of Scriptures, 
however ingenious, which diverge so much from the common 
opinion of the Fathers of the Church. 

" All with whom I have spoken consider that it is extremely 
impertinent that preachers should take advantage of the pulpit 
to introduce such a grave and difficult subject as this to an 
audience composed of women and of the lower orders, in which 
scarcely a person is to be found with sufficient intelligence to 
grasp such a subject." 


Finding that, in spite of all their efforts, Galileo him- 
self was held blameless, they endeavored to palliate 
their conduct. Caccini J sought an interview with 
Galileo, for the purpose of assuring him that he had 
not been the prime mover in the quarrel ; that what 
he had said and done had been by commandment of 
Hypocritical his superiors. Lorini made excuses which 
were still more contemptible ; declaring freely 
t jj at j^ knew nothing, and wanted to know 
nothing, of the merits of the pending controversy, and 
that he had only spoken in the first instance " for the 
sake of saying something," lest men should think that 
the Dominican fathers were asleep or dead. 

But Lorini and Caccini knew not the power they 
had evoked. The Congregation of the Index, once 
set to the task of scenting out heresy, was not to be 
quieted till a victim of some sort was given it. Fail- 
ing Galileo's body to torture, they took the book of 
Copernicus, " De Revolutionibus Orbium Ccelestium," 
and placed it on the Index, unmindful of the fact that 
their so doing loudly proclaimed the fallibility of Paul 
III., to whom it was dedicated. Galileo's position at 
Rome at this time is painted in lively but somewhat 
exaggerated colors, in the ambassador's letter to the 
Grand Duke. 2 

" Galileo has chosen rather to follow his own opin- 
io n than that of his friends. Cardinal del 
Monte, and I as much as I could, besides 
many Cardinals of the Holy Office, have 

1 Galileo says of him : " I perceived not only his great igno- 
rance, but that he has a mind void of charity, and full of poison." 
Letter to Secretary Picchena, February 20, 1616. 

2 Piero Guicciardini to Cosmo II., March 4, 16161, 


endeavored to persuade him to be quiet and make no 
more stir in this matter, but if he will hold this opinion, 
to hold it tacitly, without endeavoring to make others 
hold it too. For we feared that his coming here would 
be both prejudicial and dangerous to him ..... But 
he, .... after importuning many of the Cardinals, 
threw himself on the favor of Cardinal Orsini, and for 
this end procured from your Serene Highness a warm 
letter of recommendation to this Cardinal, who last 
Wednesday spoke in the Consistory to the Pope in 
favor of the said Galileo. The Pope an- Paul v. 
swered that he would do well to persuade 

Galileo to give up this opinion. Orsini made some 
answer which roused the Pope to opposition. He cut 
the discussion short, saying he had referred the matter 
to the Congregation of the Holy Office. As soon as 
Orsini was gone, his Holiness had Cardinal Bellarmine 
called, and after discussion they decided that Galileo's 
opinion was erroneous and heretical ; and the day be- 
fore yesterday there was a Congregation to declare the 
same. And Copernicus as well as other writers hold- 
ing his opinion are either to be corrected and altered, 
or else prohibited. I do not suppose that Galileo's 
person will suffer, as of course he will see the pru- 
dence of hearing and willing what Holy Church doth 
will and hear. But he fires up in defense of his opin- 
ions, and has small strength or prudence wherewith to 
control himself; so that he renders this climate of 
Rome extremely dangerous to himself, particularly in 
these time's, when we have a Pope who ab- Guicciar- 
hors belles-lettres and geniuses, and will not ^/ 0n of 
hear of these novelties and subtleties. And ihe p t e - 
every one seeks to accommodate his own brain and 


nature to that of our lord Pope ; so that even those 
who know something, and are curious to know more, 
if they have any wisdom, pretend to know nothing, in 
order to keep free from suspicion. There are monks 
Guicdar- and others here who hate Galileo and per- 

dini's letter ... ... 

to Cosmo ii. secute him ; and, as I say, he is in a false 
position here, considering what Rome is ; and he may 
not only get into trouble himself, but get others into 
trouble too. I for my part do not see what reason he 
had for coming, nor what good he has got by being 
here. Your Serene Highness knows well what has 
been the attitude of your Serene House in times past 
towards the Church of God, and how you have de- 
served of her, in matters relating to the Holy Inquisi- 
tion. I do not see why you should put yourself to 
such embarrassment, or undertake such risks, without 
weighty reason, seeing that no good can result from it, 
but only great injury to your Serene Highness's inter- 
ests This thing (the theory of the earth V mo- 
tion) is abhorred at Court ; and if the Cardinal, 1 on 
his arrival here, does not, as becomes a good ecclesi- 
astic, assent to the deliberations of the Church ; if he 
does not second the Pope's will, and that of a Congre- 
gation such as that of the Holy Office, which is the 
very base and corner-stone of religion, and the most 
important assembly in Rome, he will lose much 
ground, and give great cause for displeasure. If he 
chooses to have in his antechamber or in his circle of 
acquaintance infatuated men who will make a parade 
of their opinions, and uphold them with strife (par- 
ticularly these astrological or philosophical opinions), 
he will find himself avoided by everybody ; for, as I 
1 Carlo de' Medici, brother of the Grand Duke. 


said, the Pope is so alienated from such opinions, that 
every man endeavors to feign a rustic ignorance ..... 
So that the less parade literary men make of their 
opinions here, the better. And if Galileo remains here 
for the coming of my lord Cardinal, and succeeds in 
mixing him up in this business, it will be to my lord's 
hurt. For Galileo is so vehement, so obstinate, and 
so infatuated, that it is impossible for any one who has 
him in his neighborhood to escape from his hands. 
And as this is no matter for mirth, but may become 
extremely prejudicial (if indeed it is not already be- 
come so), and as this man is in your Serene High- 
ness's and my lord Cardinal's house, 1 and under your 
protection, I considered it my duty to represent to 
your Serene Highness what has passed, and what the 
common report is concerning this matter." 

This dispatch of Guicciardini's is not only exagger- 
ated, but incorrect ; for, as the dates affixed 

to the trial papers show, the last Congrega- 

tion had been convened on the 24th of February, not 
the 2d of March. Galileo had been called and ad- 
monished (not censured) by Cardinal Bellarmine on 
the 26th; 2 therefore, for the time at least, and at all 

1 Galileo was residing at Villa Medici, in the gardens of Trin- 
ita de' Monti. 

2 The order for Galileo's admonition is dated Die Jovis, 25 
Febntarii, 1616 : . . . " Sanctissimus ordinavit 111. D. Car- 
dinali Bellarmino ut vocet coram se dictum Galileum, eumque 
moneat ad deserendam dictam opinionem, et si recusaverit parere, 
Pater commissarius coram notario et testibus faciat illi preceptum 
ut omnino abstineat hujusmodi doctrinam et opinionem docere 
aut defendere, seu de ea tractare ; si vero non acquieverit, car- 

The Pope's order was carried out on the following day, Die 


events as far as it was then possible for any one to 
foresee, the whole affair was at an end. We must re- 
member that Galileo was a gentleman and a courtier, 
and that his whole correspondence shows him to have 
been a man of exquisite tact. It was hardly possible 
that, in the face of the friendly admonition received 
but a few days before from Cardinal Bellarmine, he 
should have continued vehemently to assert and up- 
hold the truth of the Copernican system, to all and 
sundry, in season and out of season. Such a proceed- 
ing would have shortly resulted in his arrest by the 
familiars of the Holy Office on the charge of contu- 
macy. Guicciardini, while endeavoring to represent 
Galileo as devoid not only of the commonest apprecia- 
tion of fitness of time and place, but as devoid also of 
common sense and prudence (two qualities peculiarly 
Tuscan), does show very plainly that he disliked both 

Veneris, 26 ejusdem : " In palatio solitae habitationis D. 111. 
Cardinalis Bellarmini et in mansionibus D. supradicti Illustris- 
simi : idem 111. D. Cardinalis, vocato supradicto Galileo, ipsoque 
coram D. S. Illustrissimge existente in praesentia adm. R. fratris 
Michaelis Angeli Seugnitii de Landa, ordinis predicatorum, com- 
missarii generalis S. Officii, praedictum Galileum monuit de errore 
supradictas opinionis et ut illam deserat et successive ac inconti- 
nent! in mei praesentia et testium et praesente etiam adhuc eodem 
111. D. Cardinali supradictus Pater commissarius prsedicto Galileo 
adhuc ibidem praesenti et constituto praecepit et ordinavit pro 
nomine S. D. N. Pape et totius Congregations S. Officii, ut 
supradictam opinionem quod sol sit centrum mundi et immobilis 
et terra moveatur omnino relinquat, nee earn de caetero quovis 
modo teneat, doceat, aut defendat, verbo aut scriptis ; alias contra 
ipsum procedetur in S. Officio : cui praecepto idem Galileus 
acquievit et parere promisit. Super quibus peractum Romae ubi 
supra, praesentibus ibidem ad. Badino Nores de Nicosia in regno 
Cypri et Augustino Mongardo de Loco Abbatis Rottz diocesio 
Politianeti, familiaribus dicti 111. D. Cardinalis, testibus." 


Galileo and his philosophy, and that, however igno- 
rant the Pope may have been of all that appertained 
to science, Guicciardini himself probably did not feign 
more than his actual rustic ignorance of such matters, 
since he evidently considers the words " astronomical," 
" astrological," and " philosophical," as synonymous, 
whereas there was no need of feigning ignorance with 
a master who loved science and esteemed scientific 

The decree of the Congregation was promulgated 
on the 5th of March. A treatise of Father Decree of 

the Longre- 

Antonio Foscarini, a Carmelite monk, on gationofthe 


the Copermcan system, 1 and an exposition respecting 

. books in 

of the Book of Job by an Augustine monk favor of 
named Didacus or Diego of Stunica, contain- C a n system' 
ing a commentary on the passage " qui commovet ter- 
ram de loco suo" etc., which favored the new doctrine , 
were included in the probihition of Copernicus' work, 
" De Revolutionibus Orbium Ccelestium." This decree 
was a great blow to Galileo, who had hoped for a far 
different result. It was a small thing to him that he 
escaped personal censure. Convinced of the truth of 
the Copernican theory, and having convinced others 
daily, in hall and antechamber, wherever he could find 
listeners, the condemnation of that theory was not only 
a proof of the willing subservience of the Congregation 
to the views of an unscientific and perhaps prejudiced 

1 Benedetto Castelli to Galileo, April 9, 1615 : 
" I think that my Lord Archbishop (of Pisa), now he sees that 
the monk has been writing in defense of this opinion (of the earth's 
motion), is more astonished than he had been at any previous ar- 
gument in its favor. His lordship no longer says that these are 
follies, but begins to say that Copernicus was really a great man 
and a great genius." 


Pope, but seemed to him to be likely to damage the 
interests of the Catholic religion, and to bring into 
disrepute that Church of which he was a sincere and 
faithful member. Of all the calumnies raised by his 
enemies, the only one which affected him painfully, 
was that which accused him of being a bad Catholic. 
Suspecting that Guicciardini had insinuated into the 
Grand Duke's mind a suspicion that his behavior had 
been characterized by a violence unworthy of a philos- 
opher, and compromising to the Government of Tus- 
cany in its relations with the Court of Rome, Galileo 
wrote to Curzio Picchena, the Grand Duke's secretary 
and his intimate friend, to vindicate himself. " That 
Galileo** which I have done," he says, " my writings 
his conduct will always show, and I keep them to the 
end that my calumniators' mouths may be 

stopped. They will show sufficiently what my be- 
havior has been in this matter, and I assert that no 
saint could have acted with greater reverence or 
greater zeal for Holy Church. And I would say that 
it has not been thus with my enemies ; for in their en- 
deavor to ruin me, they have left untried no calumny, 
or machination, or diabolical suggestion, as you and 
their Serene Highnesses shall hear at the proper time. 
And as it has appeared to me that certain persons, 
being ill-inclined towards me, might make one-sided 
reports to his Highness, I pray his Highness to keep 
his good opinion of me till I come back ..... 
Above all, I would have your lordship know how 
calmly and temperately I ruled myself, and how care- 
ful I was to say nothing which could damage the repu- 
tation of those who, on the contrary, had done their 
very worst to ruin mine. I believe your lordship will 


be much astonished at what I shall have to relate to 

If Picchena was astonished at anything, we think 
that the particulars of Galileo's interview with the 
Pope must have contained more matter for astonish- 
ment than the recital of his enemies' machinations. 
For men of opposite parties to blacken each other's 
characters and to contrive each other's ruin was noth- 
ing new or strange ; on the contrary, it was considered 
a custom both ancient and honorable. But Galileo's 
Galileo, in his interview with Pope Paul, J^^ 
thrust his head, so to speak, into the lion's Paul v - 
mouth, and drew it out again unhurt. According to 
his own account, 1 the Pope was very gracious, and 
conversed with him, walking up and down, for three- 
quarters of an hour. Galileo mentioned some of the 
false reports which had been spread by his enemies, 
and complained of the causeless and rancorous per- 
secution to which he had been subjected. The Pope 
desired him to take no heed of the evil reports which 
had been spread, but to keep a quiet mind ; for that 
he himself was assured of his orthodoxy, and Galileo 
might rest secure of not being troubled by the Con- 
gregation during his life-time at least. The Grand 
Duke had taken no further notice of Guicciardini's 
letter than to send a message to Galileo through 
Picchena, desiring him to take matters quietly. But 
Guicciardini, evidently disliking philosophical and 
" astrological " discussions even more than the Pope 
did, wrote again, insisting on the propriety and neces- 
sity of Galileo's leaving Rome. 

u Galileo shall be paid," he says curtly, 2 " what he 

1 Letter to Picchena, March 12, 1616. 

2 Guicciardini to Picchena, May 13, 1616. 


says he requires. He is in a humor to try to vanquish 
even the monks' obstinacy ; and if he fights with them, 
of course the day will go against him. So you may 
shortly expect to hear down there (in Florence) that 
he is utterly ruined and compromised. However, the 
heat will probably drive him from Rome before long, 
and that will be the best thing that can happen to 

The answer to this was a message to Galileo from 
Weekend's tne Grand Duke. "You, who have tasted 
warning. t h e m onks' persecution," says Picchena, 1 
" know what sort of flavor it has. His Highness de- 
sires you not to rouse up sleeping dogs, but to come 
away from Rome without further delay ; for we have 
heard reports which are not pleasant, and we know 
that the monks are omnipotent : therefore take warn- 

It is probable that the Grand Duke feared that his 
brother, who was friendly to Galileo, might be induced 
by the latter to express such opinions on the Coper- 
nican theory as might compromise the Court of Flor- 
ence. Bellarmine wrote a declaration of Galileo's 
innocence, which was made public, as, indeed, was 
its author's intention ; though if the Cardinal had 
known what a powerful weapon this document would 
be sixteen years later in the hands of Galileo's en- 
emies, it is certain he would never have written it. 2 

1 Picchena to Galileo, May 23, 1616. 

2 Cardinal Bellarmine's Declaration : 

" We, Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, having heard that it has 
been calumniously stated that Signer Galileo Galilei has abjured 
before us, and that he has been ordered to submit to salutary 
penances, and wishing that the truth may be known, declare 
that Signer Galileo has not abjured either before us or any one 


Cardinal del Monte alse furnished 

letter to the Grand Duke, desiring the latter to take 

no notice of the many false reports which had been 

spread with a view to disgracing Galileo with his High- 


Before his departure from Rome Galileo recom- 
menced a correspondence, begun some years 
before, with the Court of Spain, through the SJ*c 
Count of Lemos, then Viceroy of Naples, s * ain - 
on his method of discovering longitudes at sea. The 
Count's secretary, Argensola, who appears to have 
undertaken to make both Lemos and Di Castro un- 
derstand Galileo's method before they arrived at 
Madrid, wrote to Galileo, saying, "that he thought 
he had done what was sufficient to set the matter 
a-going, which till now had been as silent as a watch 
which had lost its mainspring." As a contrast to the 
stately elegance which is so strong a characteristic of 
Galileo's style, comes the following rugged sentence 
at the close of Argensola's letter : " I have Argensola- s 
observed with what compliments your lord- letti 
ship honors me in your letter, but I pray you not to 
take it ill if I write according to our Spanish style, 
which is briefer and more familiar to me. Neverthe- 
less, if your lordship chooses the contrary, I will e'en 

else in Rome, nor in any other place that we know of; neither 
hath he received any salutary penances, but that merely hath 
been made known to him the declaration of our lord Pope, 
published by the Sacred Congregation of the Index, which 
adjudges the doctrine attributed to Copernicus, respecting the 
motion of the earth round the sun, to be contrary to Scripture, 
and therefore not to be held nor defended. In faith of this we 
have written and subscribed this with our own hand." 


e you. And I pray God to 
have you in his keeping." l 

Before the discovery of Jupiter's satellites, the 
Gfikfs eclipses of the moon, whenever they oc- 

attempts to * 

improve the curred, had been made use of in detennin- 


determining ing the longitude at sea. But this method 

the longi- i i 

tude at sea. was both inconvenient and inaccurate, though 
it was not till Galileo had discovered the satellites of 
Jupiter that the inconvenience was supposed to admit 
of a remedy. Finding himself able to predict with 
certainty the times of eclipse of each satellite, it im- 
mediately occurred to Galileo to what account their 
discovery might be put ; since by this means the lon- 
gitude might be accurately determined, instead of its 
being, as heretofore, determinable only to within about 
four degrees. Galileo in his letters to Orso d'Elci, the 
Tuscan ambassador at Madrid, declares that his in- 
vention was proportionate to the grandeur of the 
Spanish Crown, whose dominion spread over the 
whole terrestrial globe. But neither Galileo's courtly 
flattery, nor the undoubted use which the possession 
of his method would have been to the Spanish navy, 
could rouse the Court of Madrid from its apathy. 

His proposition was indeed discussed in 
Philip i i i. .. * , . , 

Council by the King s order, and a report 

was made to his Majesty. From the ambassador's 
letters, however, it appears that the members of the 
Council had to be instructed, first, in the importance 
of obtaining the correct longitude at sea ; secondly, as 
to the means whereby it was proposed to be obtained. 
The ambassador himself professed to be much in the 
dark, and craved explanation. But though Galileo 
1 Bartolommeo Leonard! d'Argensola to Galileo, May, 1616. 


was willing to explain, and had even offered to go to 
any Spanish seaport and hold a public course of in- 
struction in this new method, which would have com- 
bined instruction in the use of the telescope, the 
scheme was looked upon with coldness, and the King 
declined to spend money in an experiment which 
might prove as fallacious as many others which had 
been tried. Galileo's disappointment was 

, . . , , , _ tnent of 

in some degree mitigated by the Grand Galileo. 
Duke's taking up the discovery for the use of the 
Tuscan navy. But the application of it was found 
to be beset with so many difficulties that it was 
never made of general use. The negotiations with 
the Court of Spain were renewed from time to time, 
but never came to any definite conclusion. 


Galileo's Ill-health. Industry. Sagredo's Advice. Three 
Comets. Grassi the Jesuit. Stelluti's Advice. " II Saggia- 
tore." Urban VIII. His Friendship for Galileo. Ciampo- 
li's advice. Ill-will of the Jesuits. 

SINCE Galileo's return to Florence his health had 
been extremely indifferent. Severe and painful mala- 
dies, aggravated by fits of hypochondria, frequently 
prevented him from corresponding even with his most 
intimate friends. It is wonderful to note how, in 
spite of such serious drawbacks, he pursued those 
observations and experiments which had already made 
Galileo's ^is name so prominent in the literary and 
industry. scientific world. From i6ntoi6i6he had 
published the treatise (in the form of a letter to Father 
Griemberger, the Jesuit) "On the Inequalities of the 
Moon's Surface ; " the " Discourse on Floating Bodies ; " 
" On the Spots observed on the Body of the Sun ; " and 
the " Discourse on the Tides." The famous letter to 
the Grand Duchess Christina was written in 1615, as 
well as two on the same subject to Monsignor Dini 
and to Castelli. Besides this, he embodied various 
observations on the inequalities of the surface of the 
moon in his letters to Welser, Breugger, and Gallan- 
zoni, and to the Duke Muti ; and in 1615, under the 
name of Castelli, published an answer to the writings 
of Colombe and Grazia against his " Discourse on 
s Floating Bodies." His friend Sagredo ad- 
vised him in vain to take his ease, and be 

1615-18.] SAGREDCyS ADVICE. 105 

content with the laurels he had already won. " Phi- 
losophize comfortably in your bed, and let the stars 
alone. Let fools be fools ; let the ignorant plume 
themselves on their ignorance. Why should you court 
martyrdom for the sake of winning them from their 
folly ? It is not given to every one to be of the num- 
ber of the elect. I believe the universe was made for 
my service, not I for the service of the universe. Live 
as I do, and you will enjoy life." This was the bur- 
den of Sagredo's letters from the time his friend 
quitted Padua till his own death in 1620. 

But Galileo was no Epicurean. Speculation and 
experiment were as necessary to him as food and air. 
The appearance of the three comets in the Appearance 

r / o c i i i of the three 

autumn of 1618, of which the most con- comets, 161*. 
spicuous was in the constellation Scorpio, excited the 
attention of every astronomer in Europe. Galileo's 
observations of them were greatly interrupted by a 
serious illness which confined him to his bed for nearly 
the whole time of their appearance. At the request 
of the Archduke Leopold of Austria, who conde- 
scended to visit him while confined to bed, he wrote 
down such reflections as appeared to him most per- 
tinent, and confided them to his disciple Mario Gui- 
ducci, who based on them a discourse which Galileo 
revised and corrected with his own hand, and which 
was afterwards printed. In this discourse Grassithe 
some opinions of the Jesuit Grassi were con- ?'**** 
tradicted l with a force which betrayed the master's 
hand. Grassi, offended that his position of Mathe- 

1 Ciampoli, writing July 12, 1619, regrets deeply that Grassi 
had not been let off with greater leniency, as now the whole 
Roman College was offended with Galileo. 


matician to the Roman College had not secured 
greater respect for his opinions, shortly after published 
" AS- a book called the " Astronomical Balance," 

Balance." under the pseudonym of- Lotario Sarsi. 
Though it was considered by many of Galileo's friends 
that, taking into account the scurrilous language of the 
generality, the Jesuit had written temperately enough, 
steiiutfs yet a reply appeared inevitable. Francesco 
advice - Stelluti, a member of the Lyncean Academy, 
advised that, as Grassi under the alias of Sarsi pre- 
tended to be a learner, Galileo should let Guiducci 
bear the responsibility of the reply, since it scarcely 
suited his dignity as . master to come to words with a 
student. Thus, Stelluti suggested, Galileo could ex- 
press himself with greater freedom, and could desire 
Sarsi to give the name of his master, that he might 
present himself and carry on the controversy. Galileo, 
however, thought fit to reply to Grassi himself, and to 
this end laid aside the manuscript of his " Dialogue on 
the Two Great Systems," on which much of his time 
had been employed since he had quitted Padua. But 
though by no means wanting in diligence, and though 
his friends were constantly urging him to greater haste, 
"ii Sag- the state of his health was such that the 
giatore." Saggiatore " (the Assayer), as his answer 
to Grassi's book was called, was not ready for publica- 
tion till the autumn of 1622. The printing and the 
obtaining of the license caused a delay of another 
Death of year, and during this interval important 
xv s changes had taken place. The reign of 

LudovZi Gregory XV. was over, and the Cardinals 
were debating on their choice of a head. 

It was the first fortnight of August, and the heat 

1623.] URBAN VIII. 107 

was suffocating. Many prelates and members of the 
Conclave fell ill j some died. This, Stelluti says 1 was 
the means of bringing the Conclave to a decision 
much sooner than would otherwise have been possible. 
The tiara fell to the lot of Maffeo Barberini, 
who took the name of Urban VIII. As Car- 
dinal, Urban had been on such intimate Aug - l623> 
terms with Galileo as to sign himself his " affectionate 
brother." He had not thought it beneath his dignity 
to write Latin sonnets in praise of Galileo and his 
discoveries. On his accession to the papal chair, his 
first step was to make Cesarini and Ciampoli both, 
like himself, members of the Lyncean Academy 
Chamberlain and secret Cameriere respectively. An- 
other member of the Lyncean Academy, The PO^S 
Dal Pozzo, was attached to the service of Cardinal 
the Pope's nephew. The Academicians Barberini. 
trusted that under such auspices, science, on the basis 
of free inquiry, would receive such a favorable impulse 
as to shame the ignorant followers of the old school 
into silence. Galileo, who had at first intended to 
dedicate as well as to address the " Saggiatore " (which 
was written in the form of a letter) to Don Virginio 
Gesarini, was for a moment inclined to dedicate it to 
Father Griemberger, who was not personally ill dis- 
posed to him. But from this he was strongly dissuaded 
by Ciampoli, who was rightly of opinion that such a 
dedication would draw down on Griemberger the sus- 
picion and ill-will of the whole company of Jesus. It 
was necessary, according to Ciampoli, to ciampoWs 
use the greatest discretion in order to avoid advtce - 
wounding the susceptibilities of this all-powerful body, 
1 Francesco Stelluti to Galileo, August 12, 1623. 


and various alterations in the " Saggiatore " were sug- 
gested by him with a view to this. But Ciampoli's 
advice was disregarded. In courteous and knightly 
fashion, Galileo utterly demolished his adversary's 
arguments. The Jesuits had declared openly that the 
of the autnor of tne "Astronomical Balance" be- 
longed to their Order, and that his argu- 
ments were unanswerable. Galileo's crushing reply 
was dedicated to the new Pope. This was an injury 
to their prestige which it was impossible for the Order 
to forgive. From that day they became Galileo's open 


Sister Maria Celeste. Galileo's Lost Letters. His Daughter's 
Character. The Cloistered Life. Letter of Condolence. 
Illness of Galileo. His Daughter's Anxiety. Acts as her 
Father's Secretary. Poverty of the Convent. Domestic 
Details. Sister Arcangela's Illness. Her Sister's Gratitude 
to Galileo. Vincenzio's Ill-conduct. His Untoward Dispo- 
sition. Castelli's Letter. Galileo's Visit to Rome. Sister 
Maria Celeste's Preparations. Privations. Her Remarks 
on Monastic Discipline. Death of Monsignor Cesarini. 
Interviews with the Pope. Promise of a Pension for Vin- 
cenzio. The Pope's Letter of Recommendation. Cardinal 
Zoller's Opinion on the Copernican Theory. Sister Maria 
Celeste's Letter. 

OUR first glimpse of Polissena Galilei was when the 
convent gate opened to receive her and her sister Vir- 
ginia in 1614. In 1623 she appears as Sis- sister Maria 
ter Maria Celeste. All we know of her Celeste - 
from that time is told in her letters to her father. His 
letters to her, though we know that she kept them 
carefully, and was in the habit of perusing them dur- 
ing such leisure moments as her duties in the pharmacy 
and still-room left to her, have unfortunately disap- 
peared nor was a trace of them to be found when the 
search for his writings and correspondence brought to 
light all that is now carefully preserved in the Pitti 
Library. It is probable that these letters, so treasured 
by his eldest daughter during her life, were destroyed 
by the Mother Abbess after her death, lest at some 


future time the convent should be compromised by 
Galileo's lost their presence among its archives. Sup- 
posing this to be the case, it must be re- 
membered, lest the reader should charge the Mother 
Abbess with cowardice and ingratitude towards Gal- 
ileo, who was a kind friend and benefactor to the con- 
vent as far as in his power lay, that we are by no 
means sure that the Abbess in office at the time of 
Sister Maria Celeste's death was the same whom she 
mentions as having embraced her and wept for joy at 
the news of her father's release from the Inquisition in 
1633. Unless this friendly Abbess had been re- 
elected, there must have been a change between July, 
1633, and April, 1634. The elections were held in the 
month of December, and the term of office in the con- 
vents belonging to the Franciscan Order was only for 
a year. Though Sister Maria Celeste had many 
friends among the nuns, it was not to be expected 
that all would love her in that large community. And 
though the whole of the inmates profited alike by 
Galileo's advice and his position at court, and his 
friendship with men in office and with various prelates 
at the Court of Rome, still we must not forget, what 
the Abbess of St. Matthew could not and dared not 
forget, that Galileo had been declared by the Holy 
Office to be vehemently suspected of heresy, and that 
his prison had only been transferred from the archi- 
episcopal palace at Siena to his own house at Arcetri, 
because the spies of the Holy Office had discovered 
that during his residence at the former place he had 
sown heretical opinions. 

Let us, then, forgive the Abbess for destroying let- 
ters the possession of which might have exposed her 
to ecclesiastical censure. 


It may be objected that Galileo himself may have 
requested these letters from the Abbess after his 
daughter's death. This is barely possible, but most 
unlikely. Everything which a nun possessed was, in 
theory, the property of the sisterhood ; in practice, 
the property of the Abbess for the time being, as she 
it was who alone could order the disposal of a nun's 
possessions. At a nun's death everything belonging 
to her, from her breviary to the veil she wore, became 
the absolute property of the convent. The first act of 
the Abbess, as soon as the breath of a nun was out of 
her body, would be to enter the cell and make a list 
of the effects therein. Nay, she might not always 
wait till its inmate was actually dead, if she suspected 
the existence of anything that were best destroyed ; 
letters from a person " vehemently suspected," for in- 
stance. , 

We can sometimes guess the contents of these lost 
letters by the answers which, thanks to Galileo's lov- 
ing care, and his disciples' reverence for that which 
their master had thought worthy of preservation, have 
come down to us. Sister Maria Celeste emerges from 
behind the convent grating. She lifts the veil which 
envelops her, and shows us, beneath the black serge 
which tells all that its wearer is dead to the worl,d, 
a woman's heart; a heart beating fast, full of filial 
tenderness, full of self-abasement, full of interest in 
the things of that world she had renounced in her 
childhood. We see this heart of hers, often sister Maria 
pierced with sorrow, divided always between character. 
love and fear love for her father and fear of im- 
pending evil. Tender and timorous, she yearns over 
him as a mother yearns over her only son. Besides 


the father-worship which breathes and glows in every 
page, these letters, one hundred and twenty in num- 
ber, bear evidence throughout of sound sense and so- 
ber judgment, joined to a simple piety, rare, per- 
haps, at any time, but extremely rare in those days. 
There is not a trace of mysticism ; there is no men- 
tion of minute practices of devotion. She does not 
pass her nights in the church, kneeling on the cold 
stones, expecting a vision. She goes to bed like a 
sensible woman, and takes her seven hours' sleep. 
She regrets sometimes that her constitution should re- 
quire so much sleep, but only because she would like 
better to sit up and write long letters to her dearest 
lord and father. Of our Heavenly Father she dis- 
courses much ; of the Madonna, though she calls her 
" Most Holy," scarcely ever. We hear of no patron 
saint. The nuns have each their patron, she says, 
their Devoto, to whom they tell all their joys and sor- 
rows. A piteous picture this. Imagine a poor woman, 
whose heart is not quite dead, in spite of her vow and 
her black veil, flying to an image, a painting hung on 
the wall of her cell, for the sympathy which she dare 
not ask from her fellow-prisoners ! Imagine her talk- 
ing to her saint's effigy, for want of father, or brother, 
or husband ! 1 [Bister Maria Celeste tells us that she 
has her father to tell her joys and griefs to, and there- 
fore wants no patron saint. ^ 

Around this nun, who shows us her inmost heart, 
so that we feel as if she were known to us, as if, 
having read her letters, we should recognize her here- 

1 It is well known that while the nuns' devotion was towards 
some particular saint of the male sex, the monks, on the other 
hand, chose female saints for their friends and confidantes. 


after, the sisters stand ; a group of shadows with a 
name attached to each. Some flit by, once men- 
tioned : sisters these, for were not all the nuns sis- 
ters ? but not friends. One or two are more prom- 
inent, Sister Luisa Bocchineri in particular, who was 
Sister Maria Celeste's bosom friend. Her sister Arc- 
own sister, Virginia Galilei, Sister Arcangela fJSSwfc 
in religion, appears as little more than a Gahle ^- 
shadow, and what we are told of her inclines us to 
exceeding pity, but to little love. Her disposition 
would seem to have been decidedly selfish ; her sister 
was accustomed to give up a great deal to her for the 
sake of peace, or, as she puts it, " in order not to dis- 
turb the love we bear each other." We further learn 
that Sister Arcangela was subject to frequent fits of 
hypochondria, and that she was constantly an invalid. 
Ill-health was the rule, not the exception, at St. Mat- 
thew's. Sister Maria Celeste herself was scarcely ever 
well. Sometimes she, sometimes another sister, some- 
times half the convent, were ill with fever. Rheumatism 
is frequently complained of. In winter the nuns were 
starved with the cold ; in summer they were melted 
with the heat. Of the convent discipline, though we 
learn but little, nevertheless we gather from the free- 
dom with which Sister Maria Celeste ex- Discipline 
presses herself that it was by no means vex- %?<$ 
atious. No letters which were to pass Mai ^ ew - 
through the hands of the Mother Abbess before reach- 
ing Galileo would have been written in such a strain 
of complete confidence. What would Mother Abbess 
have said, for instance, to one of the sisterhood who 
wrote that convent life weighed heavily on her ? Yet 
Sister Maria Celeste confesses this more than once 


when her father is ill and unable to come as far as the 
convent to see her. We gather, therefore, that though 
neither of the sisters were happy in their prison, yet 
that it was not in consequence of any great severity of 
discipline. Their friends were allowed to visit them 
on all feast-days. During Lent, and before Advent, 
intercourse was not the rule, though it does not appear 
to have been strictly forbidden, in this convent at least. 
But it was no uncommon thing for those who wished 
to lead a religious life while living in the world to im- 
pose on themselves certain restrictions in their inter- 
course with friends during seasons of abstinence, so 
that, even had the retreat at St. Matthew been a strict 
one, it could not have been made a matter of com- 
plaint. What Sister Maria Celeste wanted was home 
life. She stands before us, eagerly striving to learn 
something of the dwelling which her father's presence 
renders sacred, but which she can never enter. Dis- 
creet Dame Piera, careless, unloving brother Vincen- 
zio, good Signer Rondinelli, the gardener, the boy 
Geppo, may all go in and out, may all serve her Devoto, 
sit by him when he is ill, help to tend the vines, run 
the errands ; only she is debarred from the daily inter- 
course which would be her supreme delight. At least 
a third of the contents of her letters consists in anx- 
ious inquiries and tender entreaties that he will take 
care f himself. " What should we two poor 
crea tures do," she cries, " if you were taken 
father. f rom us ? Again and again she begs him 
to say what he would like her to do for him. Does he 
like baked pears and quinces? Shall she send him 
confectionery, or fragrant waters from the still-room 
stores ? Does he want his linen collars washed or 


mended? So "sweet and serviceable " is she, that she 
cares not what she does, so long as the work is for 
her father's benefit and comfort. She tells him often 
that he knows well she is never so entirely happy as 
when she is busy for his sake. 

The Convent of St. Matthew belonged to the Order 
of St. Francis of Assisi. Probably the extreme poverty 
of the sisterhood was the chief if not the sole reason 
of their freedom from Jesuitical influences. Neverthe- 
less there are evidences that the vow of poverty, 
stringent though it was, was unequally borne. Those 
of the nuns who could afford to purchase comforts were 
allowed to do so ; consequently one sister might be 
shivering in her bare, scantily furnished cell, while her 
next-door neighbor was enjoying the comfort of bed- 
curtains and door-hangings. Of candied fruits and 
cinnamon-water the convent still-room contained a 
perennial supply ; of solid food and good wine there 
was too often a scarcity. Galileo was in the habit of 
sending all sorts of provisions to his daughters : often 
Sister Maria Celeste writes begging for a supply of 
wine, or fresh meat to make broth for herself when ill. 
If such presents arrive during a time when Herunseif- 
she does not consider herself in need of del- **** 
icacies, she keeps none for herself, and always, even 
when ailing, gives away the best flasks of wine to the 
sick and aged sisters. fjFor though, from her own 
admissions, we judge that she suffered at least as much 
as her sister or any other nun in the convent, or even 
as Galileo himself, she never seems to take much 
account of her own health/] If unusual suffering 
elicits a complaint, she instantly chides herself, and 
thanks God for having given her so many blessings 


already. " Doubtless," she says, submissively, " our 
Heavenly Father would give me health too if it were 
good for me." 

The first of this long series of letters, which, un- 
learned and full of small housewifely detail though 
they were, the great astronomer thought well worth 
Death of preserving, was written on hearing of the 

Galileo's . . ~ . ^ T . . . T . . . . 

sister, death ot her aunt, Virginia Landucci, in the 

Virginia r / i 

Landucci. spring of 1623 : a 

" Very illustrious and most beloved lord and father, 
We are very much grieved to hear of the death of 
your beloved sister, our dear aunt. And not for her 
loss alone do we mourn, but also for the affliction it 
must be to you, who, as one may say, possessed but 
her in this world, nor could scarcely lose aught more 
dear, so that we may imagine how severe this unex- 
pected shock must have been. And, as I said, we 
sympathize fully in your grief; though, indeed, the 
consideration of human misery should suffice to make 
us take comfort, seeing that here we are but pilgrims 
and strangers, and that soon we shall set out for our 
true country in heaven, where is perfect bliss, and 
where we may hope that this blessed soul is gone. 
For the love of God, then, we entreat your lordship to 
be comforted, and to put yourself into the Lord's 
hands, to whom you well know it would be displeasing 
were you to do otherwise ; also that it would injure 
both yourself and us. For, seeing that you are our only 
treasure in this world, how can we but grieve infinitely 
when we hear of your being sick and in trouble ? 

"I will say no more, except that with our whole 
1 This letter is dated May 10, 1623. 


hearts we entreat the Lord to bless you and be with 
you always. 

" Your very affectionate daughter." 

This letter is addressed to Galileo's house at Bellos- 
guardo, now known as Villa Albizzi. 

Remembering with what warmth Barberini had writ- 
ten to him shortly before his election, Galileo consid- 
ered that the time spent in going to Rome to lay his 
homage at the feet of his Holiness would not be time 
wasted. He thought that he had reason to Galileo hopes 
hope, from a Pontiff so enlightened as Ur- 
ban had appeared to be, the recognition of C an 
the Copernican theory, now banned for nearly a cen- 
tury. He felt that, as far as he himself was con- 
cerned, he must gain permission to teach it as actual 
truth now or never ; and according as his desire was 
fulfilled or not would his life be complete or incom- 

Knowing her father to be the object of animosity in 
so many quarters, the accession of Urban VIII. was 
a source of great rejoicing to Sister Maria Celeste. 
Having been favored with a sight of the Pope's letters 
to her father when Cardinal, she writes, on returning 
the letters, in a strain of eagerness which indicates 
sufficiently the lively interest she took in all that con- 
cerned her father's welfare : 

" I cannot describe the pleasure with which I pe- 
rused the letters of the illustrious Cardinal Letter on 
who is now our high priest, knowing as I do 
how greatly he loves and esteems you. I 
have read the letters several times, and now chair - 
send them back as requested, having shown them to 


no one except Sister Arcangela, who, as well as my- 
self, is much delighted to see how greatly you are 
favored by such an important personage. May the 
Lord give you health to fulfill your desire of visiting 
his Holiness, so that you may enjoy a still greater 
measure of his favor. Seeing how many promises he 
makes in his letters, we may hope that you will easily 
get something to help our brother. 1 

" Meanwhile we will not fail to entreat the Lord, 
from whom all grace proceeds, that your desire may 
be granted you, if indeed it be for the best. 

" I imagine that by this time you will have written 
a most beautiful letter to his Holiness, to congratulate 
him on his having obtained the tiara. As I feel rather 
curious about it, I should like extremely, if you do not 
object, to see a copy of what you may have written. 

" I thank you infinitely for what you have sent, and 
also for the melons, which we were very glad to get. 
As I have written in very great haste, I must beg you 
to excuse the bad handwriting. All join me in hearty 

Devout Catholic as she was, Sister Maria Celeste 
had not perceived the immeasurable distance between 
her father, principal Philosopher and Mathematician- 
in-chief to his Serene Highness of Tuscany, and Maf- 
feo Barberini, possessor of the papal tiara. To the 
child Polissena, Galileo had doubtless appeared the 
greatest man on earth, and the nun Maria Celeste had 
not deposed him from his pinnacle. Galileo, not the 
less man of the world because he happened to be a 
man of science, wrote instantly to enlighten his daugh- 

1 Vincenzio had not long before commenced his studies at 


ter as to the behavior fitting for an occasion such as 
this. In her reply, dated the i3th of August, she con- 
fesses her ignorance with the most touching humil- 

" From your beloved letter I see fully how little 

knowledge of the world I must possess to Lette 
have thought as I did that you would write ignoranu of 

, . , . "worldly 

immediately to such a personage, to one who etiquette. 
is in fact the head of Christendom. I therefore thank 
you for the hint you have given me, and feel sure that 
your love for me will induce you to excuse my igno- 
rance as well as many other faults which I possess. 
I trust that, always being warned and reproved by you, 
I may gain in knowledge and discretion. 

" Since we are not able to see you in consequence 
of your lingering indisposition, we must patiently re- 
sign ourselves to the Lord's will, who permits all things 
for our good. 

" I put by carefully the letters you write me daily, 
and when not engaged with my duties I read them 
over and over again. This is the greatest pleasure I 
have ; and you may think how glad I am to read the 
letters you receive from persons who, besides being 
excellent in themselves, have you in esteem. 

" Fearing you may think me tiresome, I conclude, 
with affectionate salutations from Sister Arcangela and 
those who belong to the same room." 

A few days after, the convent steward, who had been 
sent with a message or a note to the villa at Bellos- 
guardo, brought back the news that Galileo Jnness O f 
was at Florence ill. Fearing that the indis- G(llUe - 
position might be more serious than usual, and that 
her father had perhaps gone into the city for medical 


advice, Sister Maria Celeste sent the steward to Flor- 
ence, to see Galileo and hear from himself what state 
his health was in. She says, in the affectionate little 
note of which the steward was bearer, " that she never 
regrets being a nun except when her father is ill, be- 
cause then she would like to be with him. Yet," she 
adds submissively, " let our Lord God be praised for 
everything, for without his will not even a leaf may 

" I do not suppose," she continues, " that you are in 
want of anything ; but if you are, let us know, and we 
will supply it with the best we have. Meanwhile we 
will continue, as we are wont, to entreat our Lord to 
give you that measure of health so much to be desired, 
and also that He will give you his heavenly grace." 

Galileo's illness would seem to have been more 
sister Maria serious than usual, for four days after we 
anxiety. find Sister Maria Celeste writing again, and 
sending, as an excuse for the steward's going so often 
to her father's house, a present of biscuits, baked in a 
mould representing a fish. The truth is, as she con- 
fesses in her little note, she wants the steward to see 
Galileo and learn how he is from his own mouth. 
Evidently she will place little reliance on messages 
given by those around Galileo, even though they be of 
his kindred. Galileo was at this time sojourning in 
the house of Messer Benedetto Landucci, his brother- 
in-law. One of Landucci's daughters was already a 
nun in the convent of St. Matthew. Her dowry had 
only been paid in part, and Galileo, always ready to 
accommodate his relatives in every possible way, had 
become security for the rest. 

On the 28th of August, Sister Maria Celeste writes 
again : 


"We were much grieved to hear yesterday from 
Messer Benedetto that there was no improvement, 
but that you were still in bed, suffering, and without 
appetite. Nevertheless we firmly hope that the Lord 
in his mercy will shortly restore you to some measure 
of health. I do not say entirely, for this seems im- 
possible, with so many complaints as are constantly 
troubling you ; but these, being borne with such pa- 
tience as yours, will undoubtedly procure you greater 
merit and glory in the life which is to come. 

" I have succeeded in procuring four plums, which 
I send, hoping that if they are not in as great perfec- 
tion as I could have wished, you will take the will for 
the deed. 

" Please remember that when you get an answer 
from those gentlemen at Rome, you have promised 
me a sight of it. I say nothing of the other letters 
you promised to send, as I suppose they are at the 
villa (at Bellosguardo). Fearing to be tiresome, I will 
only add that Sister Arcangela and the rest of our 
friends here join me in kindly greetings. May our 
Lord comfort and be with you always." 

By the end of August, Galileo, though still ailing, 
was sufficiently restored to allow of his resuming his 
correspondence with his daughter. On his return to 
Bellosguardo, the letters she had wished to read were 
sent to her, as also the thread and other trifles which 
she had requested her father to procure. Before long, 
Galileo, feeling his strength unequal to the demands 
on it, bethought himself of making: his she is her 


daughter secretary, when he wished copies secretary. 
taken of any particular letters or papers. It is not too 
much to suppose that her clear, delicate handwriting 


may first have suggested to him that she might be of 
use as a copyist. In the letter in which she incloses 
one, of which Galileo had desired a copy, she ex- 
presses a hope that he will think it well done, as then, 
perhaps, he will let her copy some more. She reminds 
him that to be occupied in his service is her great 
pleasure and contentment. 

Galileo, finding that he had more wine than he 
required for his household, thought to do the Lady 
Abbess a good turn by offering it to the convent 
rather than to a neighbor. But Madonna as Sister 
Maria Celeste styles her had no money to buy wine 
just then, and excused herself for not becoming a 
purchaser ; they must finish what they have already 
before they buy more, she ordered Sister Maria Celeste 
to say. This is the first glimpse we get of the poverty 
of the convent. 

The next letter, dated October 2oth, is mostly on 
domestic matters : 

" I send back the rest of your shirts which we have 
Domestic de- been working at, also the apron, which I 
tails. have mended as well as I possibly could. 

I likewise return the letters you sent me to read; 
they are so beautiful that my desire to see more of 
them is greatly increased. I cannot begin working at 
the dinner napkins till you send the pieces to add 
on. Please bear in mind that the said pieces must 
be long, owing to the dinner napkins being a trifle 

" I have just placed Sister Arcangela under the 
sister ? doctor's care, to see whether, with the Lord's 
se r help, she may be relieved of her trouble- 

some complaint, which gives me great anxiety. 


"I hear from Salvadore (the servant) that you are 
coming to see us before very long. We wish to have 
you very much indeed ; but please remember that 
when you come, you must keep your promise of spend- 
ing the evening with us. You will be able to sup in 
the parlor, since the excommunication is for the table- 
cloth, and not for the meats thereon." 

The meaning of this phrase is, that although the 
rule of the Order forbade guests being received in the 
refectory under pain of excommunication, there was 
nothing to prevent their being asked to dine or sup 
in the parlor, nor was it considered a breach of dis- 
cipline for any nun who might be invited to join in the 
meal. Sometimes indeed, by way of " dining out," a 
nun's friends might ask her to partake, in the convent 
parlor, of a meal which they had brought from their 
own abode. 

It will be remembered, that though Galileo had, in 
1619, taken steps to legitimize his son Vincenzio, his 
daughters carried the stain of illegitimacy with them 
to their graves. From the abject gratitude which 
Sister Maria Celeste's letters express for favors which 
most daughters would consider as their birthright, it 
would appear that she was fully, painfully conscious 
that she and her sister had no real that is to say, no 
legal claim on their father. She had sent him a list 
of things which she and her sister required. The 
following letter, dated October 29th, was written on 
receipt of the package : 

" If I should begin thanking you in words for the 
present you have sent us, besides not know- sister Maria 
ing how to quench our debt with words, I Ce ^f^ de 
believe that you would not care for them, to Galileo. 


preferring, as you do, our gratitude to demonstrative 
phrases and ceremonies. It will be better, therefore, 
that in the best way we know of, that is, by praying 
for you, we endeavor to show our sense of gratitude, 
and to repay this and all other great benefits which 
we for such a length of time have received from 

" When I asked for ten braccia 1 of stuff, I meant you 
to get me a narrow width, not this cloth, so wide and 
fine, and so expensive. This quantity will be more 
than sufficient for us. 

" I leave you to imagine how pleased I am to read 
the letters you constantly send me. Only to see how 
your love for me prompts you to let me know fully 
what favors you receive from these gentlemen is 
enough to fill me with joy. Nevertheless I feel it a 
little hard to hear that you intend leaving home so 
soon, because I shall have to do without you, and for 
a long time too, if I am not mistaken. And your lord- 
ship may believe that I am speaking the truth when I 
say that except you there is not a creature who gives 
me any comfort. But I will not grieve at your depart- 
ure because of this, for that would be to complain 
when you had cause for rejoicing. Therefore I too 
will rejoice, and continue to pray God to give you 
grace and health to make a prosperous journey, so that 
you may return satisfied, and live long and happily ; 
all which I trust will come to pass by God's help. 

" Though I know it is not necessary for me to do 
so, yet I recommend our poor brother to your kind- 
ness ; and I entreat you to forgive him his fault in 

1 The braccio is equal to about twenty-three English inches. 


consideration of his youth, and which, seeing it is the 
first, merits pardon. 1 I do beg and entreat sisterMaria. 
you to take him to Rome with you, where S//J r 
opportunities will not be wanting to give herbrotker - 
him that assistance which paternal duty and your nat- 
ural kindness will prompt you to seek out. 

" But fearing that you will find me tiresome, I for- 
bear to write more, though I can never cease to recom- 
mend him to your favor. And please to remember 
that you have been owing us a visit for a very long 

What the escapade was which had brought Vincen- 
zio into disgrace with his father, we are not vincenzio's 
told. This was not the last time that his sis- ill - conduct - 
ter had to intercede to obtain a removal of Galileo's 
just displeasure. In disposition Vincenzio 
would seem to have resembled his uncle 
Michelangelo. Years brought him no discretion. 
Wayward, selfish, idle, with a great capacity for spend- 
ing money he had not earned, and a no less capacity 
for sulkiness, this only son was a constant thorn in his 
father's side. Castelli, who looked after him with pa- 
ternal solicitude, even to the buying of his shoes and 
stockings, complained bitterly to Galileo of his mulish 
obstinacy. A fault confessed was half atoned for, the 
good Father thought, and strove hard to bring him to 
confession, assuring him that no punishment should 
follow. " But he is as hard as a stone," he casteUf* 
wrote, " and one would think he were struck letier ' 
dumb by enchantment. As for me, I am in utter de- 

spair." 2 

1 Vincenzio was then seventeen years of age. 

2 Castelli to Galileo, December 5, 1623. 


Galileo's intention of visiting Rome was not put 
into execution till the Easter of 1624. This delay 
was occasioned by the state of his health, which abso- 
lutely forbade his braving the fatigue of a journey to 
Rome during the winter. Meanwhile his friends at 
the Papal Court anxiously watched the temper of the 
new Pope, and kept him well informed of every favor- 
Friendship able indication. "Under the auspices of 
p^/r tm ' s m st excellent, learned, and benignant 
Pontiff," wrote Prince Cesi, "science must 
flourish. . . . Your arrival will be welcome to his 
Holiness. He asked me if you were coming, and 
when ; and, in short, he seems to love and esteem you 
more than ever." Ciampoli wrote in the same strain. 
Yet a certain amount of caution was necessary ; and 
of this Galileo seems to have been as fully aware as 
Prince Cesi, to whom he had imparted his great de- 
sire to bring about the recognition of the Copernican 
theory. Writing in October to this nobleman, who 
was then residing on his estate of Acquasparta, near 
Todi, he says : 

"I have received the very courteous and prudent 
advice of your Excellency respecting the time and 
manner of my going to Rome, and shall act upon it. 
I shall pay you a visit at Acquasparta, that I may be 
fully informed of the present state of things at Rome." 

Meanwhile Sister Maria Celeste was busy working 
at the new set of dinner napkins which had 
been cut too short, and must therefore have 
pieces added. How her housewifely soul 
must have been vexed at those pieces ! 

" I cannot ,rest any longer without news," she wrote 
in the last week of November, " both for the infinite 


love I bear you, and also for fear lest this sudden cold, 
which in general disagrees so much with you, should 
have caused a return of your usual pains and other 
complaints. I therefore send the man who takes this 
letter purposely to hear how you are, and also when 
you expect to set out on your journey. I have been 
extremely busy at the dinner napkins. They are nearly 
finished, but now I come to putting on the fringe, I 
find that of the sort I send as a pattern, a piece is 
wanting for two dinner napkins : that will be four 
braccia. I should be glad if you could let me have it 
immediately, so that I may send you the napkins be- 
fore you go ; as it was for this that I have been making 
such haste to get them finished. 

" As I have no sleeping room of my own, Sister 
Diamanta kindly allows me to share hers, depriving 
herself of the company of her own sister for my sake. 
But the room is so bitterly cold, that with my Privation 

.',.,.. "L and discom- 

head in the state in which it is at present, I fort. 
do not know how I shall remain, unless you can help 
me by lending me a set of those white bed-hangings 
which you will not want now. I should be glad to 
know if you could do me this service. Moreover, I 
beg you to be so kind as to send me that book of yours 
which has just been published, ' II Saggiatore,' so that 
I may read it, for I have a great desire to see it. 

" These few cakes I send are some I made a few 
days ago, intending to give them to you when you 
came to bid us adieu. As your departure is not so 
near as we feared, I send them lest they should get 
dry. Sister Arcangela is still under medical treat- 
ment, and is much tried by the remedies. I am not 
well myself; but being so accustomed to ill health, I 


do not make much of it, seeing, too, that it is the 
Lord's will to send me continually some such little 
trial as this. I thank Him for everything, and pray 
that He will give you the highest and best felicity. 

" P. S. You can send us any collars that want get- 
ting up." 1 

Galileo had written to ask his daughter what service 
would be most acceptable to the convent. At Rome 
he would be in constant communication with Church 
dignitaries. In expectation of all sorts of proffers of 
favor and friendship, such as it was the fashion among 
the scientific or free-thinking party to hold out to 
learned men, philosophers, and poets, Galileo wished 
to have an answer ready. In Sister Maria Celeste's 
reply, besides evidences of her own good sense, we 
gain some insight into the habits of the clergy of the 

" From your very kind letter, written some days ago, 
I had hoped to be able to give a viva voce answer to 
your question. But as the state of the weather pre- 
vents you coming, I have decided on telling you my 
thoughts in writing. I must begin by saying what 
pleasure your very kind offer of help to the convent 
gives me. I have spoken about it to Madonna and to 
some of the elder mothers, and all showed that amount 
of gratitude which the nature of the offer merited. But 
as they could not decide amongst themselves what it 
would be best to ask, Madonna wrote to our governor 
to ask his opinion. His answer was that, considering 
the extreme poverty of the convent, he thought it 
would be wisest to ask for alms rather than anything 
else. Meanwhile, I have been talking a good deal on 
1 Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, November 21, 1623. 


the subject with one of the nuns, who is a person of 
good judgment, and kinder and better than any of the 
sisterhood as far as I see ; and she, moved not by pas- 
sion or interest, but by pure zeal for the well-being of 
the convent, has advised, and, indeed, begged me to ask 
for a thing which doubtless will be as useful to us as it 
will be easy for you to obtain, namely, that his Holiness 
would grant us the favor of choosing for our confessor 
a Regular or Brother of some Order, on condition of 
changing him every three years, as is the custom in 
other convents. We do not wish to be absolved from 
obedience to the Ordinary because of this, but we 
desire such a confessor for the administration of the 
most Holy Sacraments. I cannot tell you how neces- 
sary such a confessor is to us ; some of the various 
reasons we have for wishing him to be a member of 
some Order, I have noted down in the inclosed sheet 
of paper. 

" But as I know it would not do for you to act in 
this matter merely on a word from me, you might, 
besides asking the opinion of some person of expe- 
rience, endeavor, when you come here, to find out 
Madonna's mind on the subject, as well as the opinion 
of some one of the elder mothers : only you must take 
care not to let them find out why you ask. And pray 
do not say a word about this to Messer Benedetto 
(Landucci), for he would instantly tell Sister Clara, 1 
and she would tell all the nuns. In this way every- 
thing would be spoilt, for in so many heads there must 
needs be a variety of fancies. Consequently, any nun 
who might dislike the plan would throw some impedi- 
ment in the way. And it seems to me that it would 
1 Benedetto Landucci's daughter. 


not be right, that, for the sake of two or three sisters, 
the whole community should be deprived of what 
would be both a temporal and a spiritual benefit, if we 
could but obtain it. 

"We mean to abide by your good judgment. It 
therefore only remains for you to examine whether or 
not our demand be a proper one j and if so, in what 
way it had best be made to be easiest granted. To me 
it seems a proper thing to ask, and there is no doubt 
at all of the great want of it. 

" I have written to-day, for, seeing the weather so 
calm, I think you may be coming to see us before it 
breaks again and I wanted to tell you how you must 
set to work with that old man. 1 

" Fearing to weary you beyond measure, I write no 
more, reserving many things till we meet. To-day we 
expect Monsignor the Vicar-General, who is coming on 
Election of account of the election of the new Abbess. 
A C bbe. May it please God that the election fall on 
one who is most conformed to his will. And to your 
lordship may He vouchsafe abundantly of his heavenly 
grace." 2 

The paper inclosed in the preceding letter is as 
follows : 

" The first and principal reason for my making this 
shterMaria request is that I see and know what scanty 
remarks on knowledge and experience these priests have 

monastic c ,1 i i c 

discipline. of the rules and requirements of us nuns j 
and that in consequence they give us great occasion, 
or I might say permission, to lead a life 8 . . . which . . . , 

1 Not further specified. Probably the ordinary or governor 
of the Franciscan convents in that district. 

2 Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, December 10, 1623. 

3 The concluding words of the sentence are illegible. 


and with small attention to our rule. And who can 
doubt that, while we live without the fear of God, we 
must expect to be in perpetual misery regarding tem- 
poral matters ? Thus we ought to begin by removing 
the cause of offense which I have already stated. 

" The second reason is, that, owing to the poverty of 
the convent, we cannot satisfy the claims of the con- 
fessors, by paying them the salary owing at the expira- 
tion of the three years of office. I know that three of 
the former confessors have large sums still owing them; 
and they make this a pretense for coming here fre- 
quently to dine, and getting friendly with one or other 
of the nuns. And, what is worse, they make Her opinion 
a common talk of us, and complain of us $%$?* 
wherever they go, so that we are become the Casentino - 
laughing-stock of the whole Casentino, 1 from whence 
these confessors come, who are more apt at chasing 
hares than at guiding souls. If I once began telling 
you all the absurdities committed by our present con- 
fessor, I should never have done ; they are so numer- 
ous and so incredible. 

" The third reason is, that a Regular cannot be so 
ignorant as not to know more, at any rate, that one of 
these Casentini. And even though he be as ignorant, 
at least he will not go asking advice at the Episcopal 
Palace or elsewhere, as to what his conduct and decis- 
ion should be, in every trifling case that may arise in 
the convent, as these priests are constantly in the habit 

1 The upper valley of the Arno is thus named : 
" Li ruscelletti, che de' verdi colle 
Del Casentin discendon giuso in Arno, 
Facendo i lor canali e freddi e molli." 

Inferno, canto xxx. 


of doing ; but on the contrary, he would ask the ad- 
vice of some learned father belonging to his own 
Order. In this way our affairs would be discussed in 
one convent only, and not in all Florence, as is the 
case now. Besides this, a Regular, however great his 
want of experience, would know that he ought so to 
rule his behavior as to give no possible occasion for 
dispute among the nuns ; whereas a priest who comes 
here unacquainted with monastic life has finished his 
term of three years before he has learnt what are our 
rules and obligations. 

" We do not desire our confessors to be of any one 
Order more than another ; that particular can be de- 
cided by the person who grants our request. It is 
true, however, that the brethren of Santa Maria Mag- 
giore, who have come here as confessors extraordinary, 
have given us great satisfaction ; and I should con- 
sider that the appointment of one of these would quite 
meet our case. First, because they observe their 
own rule very strictly, and are greatly looked up to. 
Secondly, because they do not expect grand presents, 
nor do they care (being used to live poorly) for such 
dainty fare as is expected by the priests whom we have 
had for confessors, who, coming for three years only, 
seek nothing during that time but their own interests ; 
and the more they can squeeze out of us nuns, the bet- 
ter opinion they have of themselves. 

" I might add other reasons to those already given, 
but instead of doing so, I would ask your lordship to 
inform yourself as to the state in which were formerly 
the convents of S. Jacopo, S. Monaca, and others, 
and also what their state is and has been since they 
have been governed by brethren who knew how to 
bring them into proper order." 


The journey to Rome, so long contemplated, was at 
length undertaken. Furnished with a letter ^Oeo sets 
of the Grand Duchess Christina recommend- Rome. 
ing him to the favor of her son, Cardinal de' Medici, 
Galileo set out in April (after Easter), going by way 
of Perugia, and stopping at Acquasparta to visit Prince 
Cesi. From Acquasparta he wrote to his daughter. 
His reception at this place was most flattering, and he 
had the further satisfaction of learning that his pres- 
ence at Rome was anxiously desired " by great person- 
ages." On the other hand, he had the grief of learn- 
ing the sudden death of Monsignor Cesar- Deat h f 
ini, 1 whom he both loved and honored, and 
who, while President of the Lyncean Acad- 
emy during Prince Cesi's absence, had introduced his 
new book, " II Saggiatore," to the notice of the Pope. 

This event, Sister Maria Celeste reminds him in a 
letter written on the 26th April, "gives food for re- 
flection on the fallacy and vanity of all earthly hopes," 
Then she adds timidly, " But I would not have you 
think that I wrote merely to sermonize you, therefore 
I will say no more." Galileo remained at Rome about 
two months. During this time he had no less than six 
Ions: interviews with the Pope, who, on his Urbaits 

. , . . ' , - . x presents to 

departure, presented him with " a fine paint- Galileo. 
ing, two medals, one of. gold and the other of silver, and 
a good quantity of Agnus Dei" 2 Of these last we may 
suppose the nuns of St. Matthew to have had Promise of a. 

. .. . . , pension for 

the largest share. Besides this there was a vincenzio. 
promise of a pension of sixty crowns to be settled on 

1 He was a member of the ancient ducal family of the same 
name. He bequeathed his library to the Lyncean Academy. 

2 Galileo to Prince Cesi, June 8, 1623. 


Vincenzio, 1 as an acknowledgment of his father's merits. 
Anxious to appear as Galileo's chief patron, the Pope 
took advantage of his return to Florence to write the 
The Pops* young Grand Duke Ferdinand a letter, recom- 
mending Galileo to him as a person worthy 
^ protection and favor, on account not only 
Duke's o f his scientific attainments, but of his or- 

favor, June 

8, 1624. thodoxy. " For," thus the papal brief runs, 
" we find in him not only literary distinction, but also 
the love of piety, and he is strong in those qualities by 
which pontifical good-will is easily obtained. And 
now, when he has been brought to this city to con- 
gratulate us on our elevation, we have v,ery lovingly 
embraced him, nor can we suffer him to return to the 
country whither your liberality calls him without an 
ample provision of pontifical love. And^that you may 
know how dear he is to us, we have willed to give him 
this honorable testimonial of virtue and piety. And 
we further signify that every benefit which you shall con- 
fer upon him, imitating or even surpassing your father's 
liberality, will conduce to our gratification." 2 

The foundation of the great work of Galileo's life, 
Galileo's " The Dialogue on the Two Great Systems," 
7n/otfs had long been laid. But, mindful of the 

1 This was an empty promise, as appears from Castelli's letter 
to Galileo of the 2ist of Augusf, 1626 : " I told Don Taddeo 
Barb^rini what had been his Holiness's will as regards the 
pension, and implored his favor. . . . He promised to do 
everything he could towards the carrying out of the Pope's 
wishes. I also mentioned the thing to Monsignor Ciampoli, who 
will, without fail, take an opportunity of reminding his Holiness 
of the promise." 

2 Recommendatory letters were also written by Cardinal Fran- 
cisco Barberini to the Grand Duchess Magdalen, of Austria, wife 
of the reigning Grand Duke, and to his mother Christina. 

1625.] LETTER TO INGOLI. 135 

decree of 1616, he took measures to dis- treatise on _ 

.1 -r , . . , . . the Coperni- 

cover the Pope s opinion by writing an essay can system, 
or pamphlet in the form of a letter of reply to 

a certain Ingoli, who had some years before 
written a treatise on the Copernican system. 
This treatise, though a mere burlesque, had not dam- 
aged its author's reputation, since he was then at the 
head of the Propaganda College. Galileo distributed 
a few copies of his pamphlet among his friends and 
adherents, and sent one to Monsignor Ciampoli, the 
Pope's secretary, desiring him to choose a fitting mo- 
ment to submit it to his Holiness. Ciampoli informed 
Galileo in a letter written on the 28th of December, 
1625, that the Pope was greatly pleased with The Pope's 
both the manner and the matter of the a ^ rmial - 
pamphlet. This announcement of Ciampoli's was all 
the more gratifying, as Galileo knew that the anti- 
Copernicans had endeavored to obtain the Attempts to 
suppression of " II Saggiatore." It had been 
denounced by a "a pious person " to the 
Congregation of the Index, as a book of undoubted 
heretical tendency. 1 One of the members of the Con- 
gregation, a cardinal, not named, undertook to appoint 
a fit person to make a report on the book. By an 
apparently happy accident, the person appointed as 
examiner was Guevara, General of the Order Guevara, 
of Theatines, a learned and enlightened 
man, attached to the service of Cardinal 
Francesco Barberini. Guevara examined '??* r 

of II Sag- 

the book diligently and returned it, with a gfatore." 

1 In a letter of Tommaso Rinuccini to Galileo, December, 
1623, he mentions that a severe order had been issued by the 
General of the Jesuits, forbidding members of the company to 
speak of II Saggiatore among themselves. 


high eulogium on its merits. 1 It is more than proba- 
ble that the cardinal in question was perfectly aware 
that Urban's liking for the book was so great that he 
had it read to him at meal-times, 2 and that he was 
careful* to choose an examiner whose report would be 
in favor of its orthodoxy : for it is certain that in one 
passage of the book, at least, there is a strong leaning 
to the Copernican, /". <?. the unorthodox theory. Car- 
Cardinai dinal Zoller, who had sounded the Pope's 

Zollcv s 

opinion on mind on the subject, informed Galileo that he 

the Coperni- . . ..__.. 

can theory, had represented to his Holiness, that all 
the heretics considered the truth of the Copernican 
theory to be beyond doubt, and that therefore it would 
be necessary to be extremely circumspect in coming to 
The Papers any resolution," to which the Pope had re- 
plied that the Church had not condemned it, 
nor was it to be condemned as heretical, but only as 
rash, adding, that there was no fear of any one under- 
RiccardPs taking to prove that it must necessarily be 

view of the 

matter. true. Riccardi, whose intellect, as Galileo 
truly judged, was not capable of penetrating as deep 
as was necessary to understand and weigh the merits 
of the two world-systems, settled the matter in quite 
another way, and succeeded in satisfying his own mind 
if he satisfied that of no one else. " As to the truth 
or falsity of the theory," wrote Galileo to his friend 
Cesi, 3 " he adheres neither to Ptolemy nor to Coper- 
nicus, but quiets his doubts in a very speedy manner. 
He sets angels to work at moving the heavenly bod- 
ies, and these make them go as they do go (however 

1 Mario Guiducci to Galileo, April 18, 1625. 

2 Monsignor Virginio Cesarini to Galileo, October 28, 1623. 
8 Galileo to Prince Cesi, June 8, 1624. 


that may be) without the slighest difficulty or entan- 
glement. And certainly this ought to be enough for 

Of the greater part of the year 1625 we have but 
scanty details. Galileo's time was divided between 
attendance on the young Grand Duke, whose Galileo /- 

strncts the 

aptitude for mathematics seems to have been Grand Duke 
remarkable, and the composition of the " Dia- mattes. 
logue," which, he complains in a letter to Prince Cesi, 
got on but slowly, owing to his constantly recurring 
indispositions. It is probable, from the paucity of his 
daughter's letters at this time that he had frequent 
interviews with her. Her note of the iQth December 
is worth recording, not for its cleverness, but because 
it seems to give us an insight into her simple nature. 
A winter rose, found in the convent garden, is made 
the pretext for sending the note, and seems to be a 
good occasion for a little of what she herself would 
call sermonizing. But so artlessly is the sermon in- 
troduced, that we feel sure that her " dearest lord and 
father " could not have been offended with it. The 
greatest fear that Sister Maria Celeste seems sister Maria. 
to know is that her father's thoughts and letter. 
desires should be too much bound down to earth. Yet 
hers was no contemplative life. The care of the sick, 
the preparation of rosemary water and preserved citron, 
and the baking of cakes and biscuits, occupied a large 
portion of her time and thoughts ; but heaven had its 
place in her heart too. " Of the preserved citron you 
ordered," she writes, " I have only been able to do a 
small quantity. I feared the citrons were too shriveled 
for preserving, and so it has proved. I send two 
baked pears for these days of vigil. But as the 


greatest treat of all I send you a rose, which ought to 
please you extremely, seeing what a rarity it is at this 
season. And with the rose you must accept its thorns, 
which represent the bitter Passion of our Lord, while 
the green leaves represent the hope we may entertain 
that through the same Sacred Passion we, having 
passed through the darkness of this short winter of 
our mortal life, may attain to the brightness and felic- 
ity of an eternal spring in heaven, which may our 
gracious God grant us through his mercy. 

" Here I must stop. Sister Arcangela joins me in 
affectionate salutations ; we should both be glad to 
know how you 'are at present. 

" I return the table-cloth" in which the lamb was 
wrapped : you have a pillow-case of burs in which we 
sent your shirts, also a basket and a coverlet." 

Of Vincenzio we only know that he was still study- 
vincenzio^s ing at Pisa, and spending more money than 
his father could afford to allow him. " For 

the future," Galileo wrote to Castelli, "'he is to be 
content with three crowns a month for pocket-money. 
With this he can buy plaster figures, pens, paper, or 
anything else he likes j and he may consider himself 
lucky to have as many crowns as I at his age had 
groats." * ' 

1 Galileo to Castelli, December 27, 1625. There is a sentence 
in this letter from which we may infer that Vincenzio was quar- 
relsome, and wanting in self-control. 


Galileo immersed in Study. His Daughter's Unhappiness. 
Illness. Bad Food. Michelangelo Galilei's Behavior. 
Galileo maintains his Brother's Wife and Children. His 
Eldest Nephew. Castelli's Complaints. Debts. Michel- 
angelo's Arrogance. Selfishness. Sister Maria Celeste's 
Letter. Christmas Gifts. Michelangelo's Excuse for his 
Son. The Brothers Quarrel. Sister Maria Celeste 111. 
Her Letter. Galileo's Illness. The Nun's Request. 
Convent Rules. Sister Arcangela. Vincenzio a Sloven. 
Quits Pisa. Idleness. Attempt to deprive Galileo of his 
Stipend. Sickness at the Convent. Sister Maria Celeste's 
Advice to her Father. Vincenzio's Marriage. Wedding 
Present. Sister Maria Celeste's Letter. Galileo mends the 
Convent Clock. 

DURING the Carnival of 1626, Galileo, relieved for 
the time from attendance on the Grand Gaiiieoim- 
Duke, remained at Bellosguardo, absorbed Sy. 
in the preparation of the " Dialogue." At St. Matthew 
Sister Maria Celeste, though immersed in the business 
of still-room and pharmacy, yet found time to long for 
a sight of her father, and to grieve when day after day 
passed and her beloved visitor appeared not in the 
convent parlor. The Carnival passed, and Lent came, 
but no Galileo. Then the bitterness of her sisterMaria 

,. . /-i i i Celeste's un- 

disappomtment found vent in words, and happiness. 
she wrote, telling him that, in spite of all his past 
kindness, she could not help fearing that his love for 
his daughters must be on the wane, or else that for 
some reason he was dissatisfied with them, and there- 


fore had left off coming. She entreats him to come, 
if not to please himself, to please them. Yet, if he 
will not or cannot come, she says, not the less will 
they pray for his happiness in this world and the 

Galileo probably did go, or, if not, wrote to his 
daughters. We know that he sent them a present of 
eatables, besides rosemary and citrons, of which Sister 
Maria Celeste required a large supply. It was and is 
the custom in Italian convents to make conserves and 
fine pastry for sale, and St. Matthew enjoyed a high 
reputation for its preserved citron. We learn from 
Sister Maria Celeste's letter, written on Ash Wednes- 
day, that Vincenzio had been grumbling about his 
collars, and had sent to ask her for some new ones. 
But his sister, having no money, is obliged to ask 
Galileo for the necessary materials. At the same time 
she begs to know how Vincenzio is, and what he is 

In the spring of 1627, Sister Maria Celeste fell ill 
with what would appear to have been low fever. Self- 
denying t and uncomplaining though she was, yet the 
convent fare was so unsuitable to her in- 

Bad food at 

the con-vent. va iid state, that at length she wrote to ask 

her father for a little money to enable her to procure 
such comforts as were necessary to her recovery. The 
convent bread was very bad (though there was no 
reason for its being so, seeing that there was ground 
enough belonging to the convent to supply wheat for 
the use of the community), the wine was sour, and the 
beef coarse and uneatable. Invalid though she was, 
it was Sister Maria Celeste's rule (unlike her sister) 
only to wish for what other people would reject as not 



good enough. Thus we find her writing to beg that 
if there happens to be a tough old hen in the poultry 
yard at Bellosguardo, she may have it to make some 
weak broth. 

Since the death of Madonna Giulia, in 1620, the 
brothers Galilei had communicated but little, if at all, 
with each other. Galileo's position at the Court of 
Tuscany was certain, in Michelangelo's esti- Mickeian- 
mation, to secure him riches as' well as gel Gahlet - 
honor. The honor he might keep: the riches, his 
brother considered, ought to be divided freely with 
those of the family who had been less fortunate. If 
Galileo chose to cripple himself at the very His 
outset of his appointment by paying his 
brother's share of the dowries still owing to their 
brothers-in-law, Michelangelo considered that that was 
Galileo's own affair, but that it did not by any means 
absolve him from aiding in the maintenance of a 
numerous and beautiful family of nephews and nieces. 
Indeed, from the tone of Michelangelo's letters, he 
would appear to have thought it a privilege for Galileo 
to be joined to him in the task of filling all these 
young and lovely mouths. He had written a book 
some say it was a dissertation on the flight of swallows 
hoping to gain something by it ; but seeing that 
the title of his work is not known with certainty, even 
his secondary wish of showing the world that he too 
knew something would seem not to have been gratified. 
Finding that the disturbed state of Germany rendered 
it unlikely that he would ever make a fortune at 
Munich, where men's thoughts were turned to more 
serious matters than lute - playing, Michelangelo 
sounded his brother on the feasibility of returning to 


Florence. There had been at one time a thought of 
Galileo's taking his sister-in-law Clara Galilei's sister, 
Maximiliana, as housekeeper. But Maximiliana lived 
in Michelangelo's house, and was useful in attending 
to the children and to the cooking, so that Michel- 
angelo felt he could not spare her without incon- 
venience to himself and his wife. Shortly after, rind- 
ing that his income was getting no larger, while his 
family was increasing, and the daily necessaries of life 
were rising almost to . famine prices, Michelangelo 
offered to send his wife, Clara, to act as his brother's 
housekeeper. " This arrangement," he wrote, 

WQuld be gQod for both Q f ug Y OUr hoUSC 

would be well and faithfully governed, and I should be 
partly lightened of an expense which I do not know 
how to meet ; for Clara would take some of the chil- 
dren with her, who would be an amusement to you 
and a comfort to her. I do not suppose that you 
would feel the expense of one or two mouths more. 
At any rate, they will not cost you more than those 
you have about you now, who are not so near akin, 
and probably not so much in need of help as I am." ] 
Galileo, desirous to help his brother to the utmost 
of his power, offered to take him and his whole family 
in, and maintain them, in part at least, till Michelan- 
gelo should succeed in procuring work of some sort. 
Michel- In September accordingly they came to Bel- 
trings his losguardo, accompanied by a German nurse 

family to . . . 

Florence. a party of nine. The sister-m-law, Maxi- 
miliana, had not been able to make up her mind to 
quit Germany, and Michelangelo had left his eldest 
girl behind to console her. We are assured that Clara 
1 Michelangelo Galilei to Galileo, May 5, 1627. 

1627-28.] . HIS BRO THER'S. FAMIL Y. 143 

was quite as good a cook as Maximiliana, and that she 
would cook Galileo's dinner for him with her own 
hands, so. that he should have no. doubt of its being 
cleanly prepared. ; Shortly after the installa- Galileo 
tion of his brother's family at the villa, Gal- them. 
ileo sent his eldest, nephew, Vincenzio, to Rome to 
study music. . Michelangelo .had sent him to Paris in 
1627, and from .Paris he now. wished him to go to 
Rome, Galileo defraying the expense. . The instability 
, of Michelangelo's character, is. evident in every step of 
.his own career, and not. less evident in his direction of 
his family. . Every .transaction in which he had a part 
serves 'to illustrate Galileo's ,. long-suffering, and his 
own egotism, and arrogance, and vacillation. 
. , For Galileo's sake, Castelli took charge of this boy 
;Vincenzip as if he had:been his. old friend's son. He 
introduced him to the ambassador of Venice and to 
.other public characters . who might prove useful at a 
later period,- as. well as. to his own private friends. 
He saw to the. replenishing .of his . wardrobe, even to 
the requisite number of pairs of shoes and slippers, 
; " so that he might have wherewith to change and keep 
dry-footed." " I took him," he wrote, " to Monsignor 
.Ciampoli, who will keep him until he can be received 
into the house of a friend of his, where he will be com- 
fortably lodged for six crowns 'a month, which will in- 
clude board, lodging, washing, and getting up of his 
collars ; everything, in short, that he can want. I as- 
sure ' you I should have paid more than eight crowns 
for this accommodation anywhere else." 1 

Monsignor Ciampoli was pleased with the youth's 
appearance and manner, and augured that he might do 
1 Castelli to Galileo, January 8, 1628. 


great things in the musical profession. But Vincen- 
in-conduct z i' s true character soon became apparent. 
of MS i n } e ss than six months Galileo's friends were 


writing to complain of his ill-behavior ; idle- 
ness and impertinence were the least of his failings. 
The gentleman who had taken him as a boarder at 
Ciampoli's request declared that he could keep him 
in his house no longer. Castelli's affectionate exhor- 
tations were thrown away upon him. Not long before, 
Castelli had been grieved by the refusal of Galileo's 
son Vincenzio to take orders. It augured ill for his 
friend's orthodoxy that his friend's son should refuse 
to take a step which was necessary to the enjoyment 
of the long-promised pension of sixty crowns. " I 
shall have no longer any pleasure in serving him," he 
wrote, " for it does not appear to me right that those 
who will not serve the Church should receive benefits 
from the Church." The pension had been by Gali- 
leo's desire transferred to his nephew. " But," wrote 
Castelli of the latter, " he has little devotion. I found 
Casteiifs ft ver y h ar d to persuade him to take orders, 
complaints. an( j w ith great difficulty have I induced him 
to recite the Office of the Blessed Virgin, which he 
must do under pain of incurring the loss of the pen- 
sion and committing, mortal sin besides. My words 
enter in at one ear and go out at the other. He wants 
to buy a diamond ring, and declares that he is neither 
friar nor nun, and will hear none of my sermons. He 
is obstinate, impudent, and dissolute. The insolence 
of his replies is such that I believe he must be mad as 
well as vicious." 1 

The pension was not forthcoming, owing to the 
1 Castelli to Galileo, May 27, 1628. 


death of the Vicar of Brescia, whose place it was to 
pay it, and there was some delay in procuring an order 
for payment from the Bishop of Brescia. Michelan- 
gelo, who^had returned to Munich, wrote, M ich e i- 
desiring Galileo to pay his son's debts, lest *?$%>%% 
he should be taken to task by the Elector of debts - 
Bavaria for not paying them himself. While Castelli 
was writing to Galileo full of anger and grief and anx- 
iety, declaring that he had done more for Vincenzio 
than if he had been his own brother's son, Michelan- 
gelo's greatest complaint was that there was no one at 
Rome capable of instructing Vincenzio in the lute. 
He had expected that Galileo would provide for the 
instruction of all his nephews and nieces at Bellos- 
guardo ; and complained bitterly that Albertino and 
the rest would forget all the music they had learnt at 
Munich. " If you really mean," l he wrote arrogantly, 
" that there is (as you seem to say) no remedy to this 
disorder except by my taking them back again, I must 
do it, even if I come to Florence on foot. What my 
troubles are, nobody knows better than myself. You 
may say that you too have your own anxieties, and I 
believe you. I should think that among them that of 
seeing the ruin of these unhappy children would not 
be the least" He complains loudly of his poverty 
and of the expense of the journey to Florence, 800 
florins. But, notwithstanding his want of Michel- 
funds to keep up a house, he did not choose "selfishness. 
to economize as he might have done by giving it urt, 
because " the discomfort of lodgings would have been 
unbearable." And although provisions were at fam- 
ine prices, he felt it necessary to drink good wine for 
1 Michelangelo Galilei to Galileo, June 8, 1628. 


his health's sake. Wine in a beer-drinking country 
was of course a luxury in the best of times, but it was 
sufficient to Michelangelo to desire a thing, and a lux- 
ury became a necessity. 

Sister Maria Celeste took every opportunity of show- 
ing by trifling presents and kind messages to her aunt 
and cousins how deeply she felt obliged to all who 
were in any way capable of supplying her place in the 
household. On Christmas Eve she writes a few lines 
sisterMaria to her father, wishing that " in these holy 

Celeste's _ % J 

letter. days the peace of God may rest on him 

and all the house. She had sent a basketful of pres- 
ents. "The largest collar and sleeves," she writes, 
" I mean for Albertino ; the other two for the two 
younger boys ; the little dog for baby (la bambina\ 
and the cakes for everybody, except the spice-cakes, 
which are for you. Accept the good-will which would 
readily do much more." 

Galileo's Christmas gift to her consisted of wine, 
Christmas an< ^ rhubarb for the convent pharmacy, of 
sifts. which his eldest daughter had constant 

charge, though as a rule the offices in the convent 
were held by rotation. 

Worn with mental labor, sleepless nights, and the 
anxiety of providing for his brother's family, Galileo 
fell seriously ill. Michelangelo wrote in April to ex- 
press his joy at hearing that he was out of danger. 
Micheian- " From what I know of our brother-in-law," 
getfs letter. he cont i n ues, "I tremble to think what 
would have become of poor Clara, if you had died ! 
I think now, that, with your good leave, I shall have 
all my family back, for I do not wish them to be in 
danger of suffering unkind treatment one of these 


days. I beg that you will see that the maid-servants 
pay Clara proper respect and obedience, as I could 
on no account suffer her to be maltreated in any way 
whatever." 1 

Michelangelo's letters must have been anything 'but 
a comfort to Galileo. When at last Vincenzio had 
been dismissed from Rome, his father wrote, desiring 
Galileo to keep him till he came, as he intended to 
relieve him of the burden of maintaining his family. 
Galileo had endeavored to procure a place for Alber- 
tino in the grand-ducal household, but Michelangelo 
objected that Albertino's tender age made it Hisarro . 
more proper that he should be served than ***. 
that he should serve others. It would please him bet- 
ter if his Highness would make some provision for the 
boy, so that he might remain at home and learn to 
play the lute. Consequently, he desires Galileo to set- 
tle nothing with the Grand Duke till he could see him. 
As for Vincenzio, he was past praying for. Michel . 
"But," Michelangelo consoles himself by 
saying, " I know he did not learn his wicked 
ways from me or any one else belonging to him. It 
must have been the fault of his wet nurse ! " 

Galileo, notwithstanding his brother's arrogance, 
desired to help him as far as lay in his power. He 
advised him to leave his wife and children at Bellos- 
guardo, where at least there was comfortable board 
and lodging for them. But Michelangelo, though con- 
fessing that he had not wherewith to maintain them, 
had become as anxious to have them back as he had 
been to get rid of them. 

He went to Florence in the August of 1628, and 
1 Michelangelo Galilei to Galileo, April 5, 1628. 


took Clara and all the children back to Munich. 
Michel- That his step was a cause of displeasure 
y&*& to Galileo, who had finally lost patience 
lls d /an!iiy with a man who would on ty allow himself 
^alnJdl" 1 ' * k ne lp e d in his own way, seems probable 
Galileo. f rom the cessation of their correspondence 
and from a letter of Petrangeli in the latter part of 
December, 1630, telling Galileo that his brother had 
begged his pardon on his death-bed for his ill-behav- 
vior in 1628, and for all the trouble he had caused him 
during his life. 

From a letter of Galileo's daughter while these un- 
pleasant matters were still disturbing her father, we 
learn that she too was sick and miserable, jealous, 
perhaps, for a moment, of the aunt and cousins : 

u I believe that it is possible for paternal love to 
diminish in consequence of children's ill-behavior. 
shterMaria And this belief is confirmed by some signs 

Celeste's . .. . . 

letter. which seem to tell me that your anection for 

us is not so cordial as it was in times past. For now 
you do not pay us a visit once in three months, which 
to us seem three years and more. Besides which, 
though you are well now, you never, never write me a 

" I have closely examined myself to see what fault 
of mine has merited this chastisement, and I can ac- 
cuse myself of one, which however is involuntary. It 
is that for some time I have treated you with neglect 
in not sending oftener to inquire after your health by 
message or letter. This having been wanting on my 
side, joined to the many demerits which I possess, is 
enough to make me fear that your affection is dimin- 
ished through displeasure. But indeed you must not 

1628.] GALILEO'S ILLNESS. 149 

account my silence as a sign of my want of respect, 
but rather as a sign of want of strength, which prevents 
my making the least exertion. For more than a 
month I have suffered day and night from headache, 
and can get no relief. Just now, the Lord having 
mercifully mitigated the pain, I seize my pen to write 
you this long lamentation, which you may take as a 
burlesque if you like. At all events you will not for- 
get that we want to see you as soon as ever the 
weather permits. Meanwhile I send a few preserved 
fruits which were given me. They have hardened in 
keeping, for I have had them by me many days in 
hopes of being able to give them to you myself. The 
sweetmeats are for Anna Maria and her little brothers. 
rl send a letter for Vincenzio just to remind him of our^ 
( existence, which I think he must have entirely forgot- / 
' v ten, seeing that he never writes us a single line." 1 

Vincenzio, still a student at Pisa, was at home for 
the Carnival vacation. We may suppose that, seeing 
he had forgotten his sisters' existence, he was well sup- 
plied with collars ! 

When scarcely convalescent, Galileo had a relapse 
which caused his daughter the greatest anx- Gali i eo , s #/_ 
iety. Unable to see for herself whether he ness - 
were better or worse, she sent the steward on one pre- 
text or another, charging him to bring her word, and 
if possible see her father himself. The steward must 
have been devoted to this sweet, gentle nun, else we 
think he would have remonstrated at being made to 
take the long walk to Bellosguardo so frequently, 
bearer of such trifles as a baked quince, a couple of 
pears, preserved citron, and phials of cinnamon-water. 
1 Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, March 4, 1628. 


The nun herself had the greatest confidence in him, 
and would rather take his word than any one's, aunt or 
cousins, on the important subject of her father's health. 
In one of the affectionate little notes written at this 
period, she says : " Only in one respect does cloister 
life weigh heavily on me ; that is, that it prevents my 
attending on you personally, which would be my de- 
sire were it permitted. My thoughts are always with 
you, and I long to have news of you daily. As you 
were not able to see the steward the day before yester- 
day, I send him again to-day with these two pieces of 
preserved citron as an excuse. You will be able to 
tell him if there is anything we can do for you, and if 
the quince was to your liking, because, if so, I might 
prepare another for you. I, Sister Arcangela, and our 
friends here, pray the Lord without ceasing for your 
restoration to health." 

As soon as Galileo was convalescent, Sister Maria 
sisterMaria Celeste fell ill again j so much so that by the 
illness. physician's orders she was forbidden to keep 
Lent, and, the convent fare being exceedingly meagre, 
she wrote to ask for wine and meat, and " some little 
dainty that would do for Sister Arcangela's supper." 
All this was sent without fail, together with a present of 
citrons for Sister Luisa, Sister Maria Celeste's friend 
and helper in the still-room. In return Galileo received 
a present of preserved fruit, of which it would appear 
he was extremely fond. 

Besides her occupations in the still-room and phar- 
macy, Sister Maria Celeste was Infirmarian. We 
The sick learn from a letter written in April that her 
mistress. mistress 1 was ill, and she was much taken up 

1 To each younger nun was given a mistress, or " mother," 
chosen among the senior sisters. 

1 628.] THE NUN'S REQUEST. 151 

with attending on her and on three other sick nuns. 
[As Sister Infirmarian it was her duty to be present 
^-during the physician's visits ; a duty which could be 
delegated to no other sister. In this letter she begs 
for a flask of her father's good wine for the sick mis- 
tress. She also requests that he will get her some 
cloth at the fair at Pisa, for two " poor little nuns " 
who had begged her to do them this kindness. The 
kind of stuff they wanted was to be bought cheaper 
at Pisa than elsewhere. So she sends the pattern of 
the stuff and the eight crowns which her father is to 
spend in the purchase. 

We have advanced considerably since 1628. What 
would an Astronomer Royal say nowadays to such a 
request ? It speaks equally well for the simplicity of 
Galileo's character and for the simplicity of the times, 
that, though he was in constant attendance at Court, 
and was the intimate friend, during his whole life, of 
secretaries of state, noblemen, and prelates of distinc- 
tion, such requests as the above were frequently made 
and granted. 

According to the convent regulation, the whole sis- 
terhood were obliged to change from their Convent 
winter to their summer habits in April, with- rules - 
out regard to the temperature or the feelings of in- 
dividuals. To Sister Maria Celeste, born in the soft, 
enervating climate of the lagunes, the keen air at Ar- 
cetri was a constant source of suffering. Many are the 
complaints in her letters, of toothache, rheumatism, 
cold, and fever. But the rule being in existence, she 
had to observe it, and take the bodily suffering as a 
matter of course. Not even her value as adviser and 
secretary to the Mother Abbess, nor her attendance in 


the infirmary, nor the fact of her father being the per- 
sonal friend of the Pope, could absolve her from obe- 
dience to the rule. The utmost she was allowed was 
to put on some wrap under the summer habit. 

One of the rules of the Franciscan Order required a 
second Lent to be observed in preparation for Advent. 
Sister Arcangela (who seems to have been somewhat 
dainty) makes frequent acknowledgment, through her 
sister sister, of her father's presents of caviare and 

Arcangela 1 s . . . r . . 

daintiness, other provisions for last-days. At the same 
time we gather that when the basket happened to con- 
tain other than the food she had a fancy for at the mo- 
ment, Sister Arcangela was not best pleased ; for the 
elder sister, in one of her letters, begs her father to 
send Sister Arcangela some Dutch cheese, because 
she had been expecting some, and had been extremely 
disappointed on finding that the basket only contained 

We gather also from a sentence in one of his sister's 
Vincenzio a tetters, that Vincenzio had been a slovenly 
sloven. youth. She says : " Vincenzio is in great 
want of collars, and never thinks about it till he requires 
a clean one to put on. All he has are very old, and we 
have great trouble to get them up. I should like to 
make him four new ones trimmed with lace, and cuffs 
to match. Having neither time nor money at my dis- 
posal, I should feel glad if you would kindly send me 
a braccio of fine cambric, and nineteen or twenty lire to 
-buy the lace. I could get it from Sister Hortensia, 
who makes it beautifully. The collars are worn so large 
now that it takes a great deal of lace for the edging ; 
and since Vincenzio is now so obedient to your wishes 
as always to wear cuffs, he deserves to have handsome 


ones, therefore you must not be surprised at my asking 
for so much money." 

In July, 1628, after having remained six years at Pisa, 
studying law and mathematics, Galileo's son, yi ncenz i 
then twenty-two years of age, took his doc- &**** p "<*- 
tor's degree, which Galileo himself, more than thirty 
years before, had abstained from taking on account of 
the unavoidable expenses which attended it. Among 
his papers there is a letter from the Rector of the Uni- 
versity containing a list of the different fees which he 
would have to pay for Vincenzio. 

It was Galileo's wish to see his son employed in 
some branch of the civil service, for which he might 
be supposed, from his legal studies, to be peculiarly 
fitted. But Vincenzio, as it soon appeared, preferred 
living an idle life at home under pretense of ^ ncenz ^ s 
aiding his father in his experiments, to gain- idleness. 
ing his bread by his own exertions. 

It will be remembered that, on his return to Tuscany, 
Galileo had been appointed professor extraordinary at 
Pisa. About this time (1629), the question Atiemptto 
was mooted by his opposers, whether it had ^^ e e 00 f 
been in the power of Grand Duke Cosmo I. his stipend. 
to assign a pension from the University funds without 
attaching corresponding duties to the enjoyment of it. 
For nineteen years Galileo had held this sinecure, 
created expressly for him by the above-mentioned sov- 
ereign, in order that, being freed from the necessity of 
teaching, he might be better able to pursue those studies 
which had already led to such marvelous discoveries. 
It was thought by the orthodox or anti-Copernican party 
that the reigning Grand Duke, brought up Fer( nnand 
under the influence of his grandmother and 7/ - 


Austrian mother, in their turn influenced by the Jesuits, 
would be found more scrupulous and less attached to 
his teacher than his predecessors had been. To aid 
Cosmo I. in the endowment of the Pisan University, 
the reigning Pope had given up a certain portion of the 
tithe. This formed (in the main, if not wholly) the 
yearly revenue of the University, from which fitting 
provision was made for the various professors. Not 
only was the office of professor extraordinary a sine- 
cure, but Galileo, the man who held it, was a layman. 
This being the case, it was hoped that an appeal might 
be successfully made to the conscience of the young 
Grand Duke, and that he might be brought to see the 
impropriety of allowing any portion of a revenue derived 
from ecclesiastical sources to be enjoyed except by 
an ecclesiastic. But a portion (2,000 crowns) of this 
same revenue had been employed in the equipment of 
the grand-ducal fleet ; and this was felt by Galileo's 
friends to be a strong argument in his favor. The 
opinion of the most eminent jurists in Tus- 
can y b em taken, and being universally in 
favor of Galileo's retaining his stipend, the 
question was entirely set at rest, and the 

Ctm, theo- . _, ' 

logian, anti-Copermcans once more defeated. In ad- 
dition, Galileo was shortly after elected one 
of the magistrates of the University. 

In the beginning of November, 1628, Sister Maria 
Celeste writes again in great distress. Her sister's 
health had been worse than usual, but she had thought 
little of it, ill-health being the normal condition of most 
Sister of the nuns at St. Matthew's. But certain 

A rcangela s 

illness. symptoms had appeared which were both un- 

usual and alarming. She knows her sister ought to be 


bled, and had therefore sent for the surgeon ; but she 
has neither money to pay him, nor to procure the neces- 
sary comforts for the poor invalid, " who had fallen into 
her usual melancholy mood." In this extremity she en- 
treats her father " for the love of God " to send Vincen- 
zio, if the weather will allow, that she may tell him her 
troubles, " which yet cannot be sent for nothing, since 
God sends them." She remembers, even in the midst 
of her anxiety for her sister, to send her father a pear, 
cooked after a new receipt, which she thinks he will 
approve of, and begs that the dish in which it is sent 
may be returned, as it does not belong to her. 

During all this time Galileo's own health was so 
indifferent as to put a stop to his visits at the convent. 
Such strength as he had was devoted to his scientific 
labors. On the loth of December his daughter writes 
again : 

" You may think from my long silence that I had 
forgotten you, just as I might suspect that you had 
forgotten the road to our abode, from the length of 
time which has elapsed since you came that way. 
However, as I know that the reason of my silence is 
that I have not a single hour at present which I can 
call my own, so I think of you, that not forgetfulness, 
but press of business, keeps you from coming to see 
us. It is some comfort to have Vincenzio's visits, as 
by this means we get news of you which we can rely 
on. The only thing which I am sorry to hear of is 
that you are in the habit of going into the garden of a 
morning. I cannot tell you how grieved I am to hear 
this, for I feel sure that you are rendering yourself 
liable to just such another lingering illness as you had 
last winter. Do pray leave off this habit of going out, 

which does you much harm ; and if you will not give 

SisterMaria * U P for VOUr OWI1 Sake > S iv6 ^ U P f ^ VOUI 

r~ daughters', who desire to see you arrive at 
father. extreme old age ; which will not be the case 
unless you take more care of yourself than you do at 
present. As far as my experience goes, if ever I stand 
still in the open air without some covering on my head, 
I am sure to suffer for it. And how much more hurtful 
must it be for you ! 

" When last Vincenzio was here, Sister Clara asked 
him for eight or ten oranges. She wants to know if 
they are pretty well ripened by this time, as she re- 
quires them on Monday morning. I send back the 
dish, with a baked pear, which I hope you will like, 
and some pastry. If you and Vincenzio have collars 
which require getting up, you might send them when 
you return the other basket and the cloth you have of 

A daughter of Signer Geri Bocchineri of Prato, 
major-domo of the palace, has already been mentioned 
as Sister Maria Celeste's best friend in the convent. 
Shortly after Vincenzio's return from Pisa, he paid his 
addresses to a sister of this lady, and was accepted. 
Vincenzio From some reason, which we are unable to 
Galilei mar- fathom, Vincenzio had kept his intentions a 

Ties isesttlia 

Bocchineri. secret from his sister, neither was Sister Luisa 
Bocchineri, the bride's sister, acquainted with them. 
From SisterMaria Celeste's little note to her. father 
on this occasion, we learn that she was most agreeably 
surprised : 

" This unexpected news our Vincenzio has just 
Letter of given me about his marriage, has given me so 



what I feel except by saying that my pleasure at your 
contentment just equals the love I bear you ; and I 
should suppose that you are extremely pleased at his 
making such a good connection. I write now to con- 
gratulate you, praying the Lord to preserve you, and 
give you length of days, in such comfort as Vincenzio 
promises to give you. He has many good qualities, 
and my affection for him increases every day. Indeed, 
he appears to me a very quiet, prudent young man. 

" I should much prefer being able to talk to you 
about this ; but since I cannot do so, will you please 
write and let me know what I ought to do about send- 
ing some one to pay my compliments to the bride j 
whether I ought to send to Prato when Vincenzio goes, 
or wait till she comes to Florence ? She has been in 
a convent,, so she will know what the usage is among 
us nuns on such occasions. I wait to know your wish 
on the subject, and meanwhile I salute you heartily." 

On the 4th of January, 1629, she writes about the 
wedding present : 

" I suppose that your being so very busy is the 
reason of our not seeing you. Wishing to Letter about 
know about one or two things, I have re- preTent. 
solved to write again. About sending to congratulate 
the bride, I will wait till you think fit, only please let 
me know a few days beforehand. As I have not the 
means to do as my mind prompts me, I must take ad- 
vantage of your kind offer of help towards the wedding 

" I send a list of the principal ingredients for making 
a batch of cakes ; the smaller things, which will cost 
but little, I can get myself. Besides these I will, if you 
like, make some chocolate biscuits, or something of 


that sort. I really think it would come cheaper for 
you than if you were to buy them, and we would take 
every care in the baking. 

" I also wish that you would tell me what sort of 
present would be most fitting for the bride. I only 
care to give what meets with your approval. I was 
thinking of making her a handsome apron, which, be- 
sides being useful, would be less expensive to us, as 
we could work at it ourselves ; and the collars that are 
in fashion now we do not know how to make. I should 
be afraid of acting foolishly in asking questions about 
such trifles, if I did not know that in small things as 
well as in great your judgment is so much better than 

Sister Maria Celeste's satisfaction at the match con- 
sisterMaria eluded between her brother and Sestilia 

Celeste's '* 

satisfaction. Ijocchmeri was increased by her first inter- 
view with the bride. She thought she perceived in her 
such signs of dawning affection toward her father as 
augured well for the comfort of his declining years. 
Writing on the 22d of March, she says : 

" Both my sister and I were much pleased with the 
sisterMaria bride's affable manner, and with her good 


letter. looks. But what gave me the greatest joy 

was to see that she was fond of you, since from that we 
may judge that she will not be wanting in such loving 
attention and duty as it would be our delight to render 
you were it permitted. But we will never give up our 
own peculiar part, that is, to recommend you to our 
Lord God continually ; which indeed is our duty, not 
only as daughters, but as desolate orphans, which we 
should be if you were taken from us. 

" O, if it were but given me to explain what I feel ! 

1629.] THE CONVENT CLOCK. 159 

Then indeed I should be certain that you would not 
doubt my loving you with a tenderness beyond what 
any daughter ever had for a father. But I do not know 
how to express myself, except by saying that I love you 
better than myself. For, after God, I belong to you ; 
and your kindnesses are so numberless that I feel I 
could put my life in peril were it to save you from any 
trouble, excepting only that I would not offend His 
Divine Majesty. 

" Pray your lordship pardon me if I am tedious ; 
my love for you carries me sometimes beyond bounds. 
I did not sit down to write about my own feelings, but 
to tell you that if you could manage to send back the 
clock on Saturday evening, the sacristaness, whose 
duty it is to call us to matins, would feel much obliged. 
But if you have not been able to set it to rights yet, 
never mind ; for it will be better for us to wait a little 
longer than to have it back before it has been properly 
put in order. 

" I want to know whether you would mind making 
an exchange with us, namely, to take back a lute which 
you gave us many years ago, and give us instead there- 
of a breviary apiece ; for those we had when we be- 
came nuns are quite torn to pieces. They are the 
instruments we use every day, while the lute remains 
hung up and covered with dust ; and I fear that it may 
come to harm, as I am forced sometimes to lend it out 
of the house, in order not to be thought discourteous. 

" If you like to do this for us, will you send me a 
message to send the lute back ? As for the breviaries, 
we do not care for their being gilt ; it will be quite 
enough if they contain all the saints lately added to 
the calendar, and if the print be good, as they will 
then be useful to us if we live to be old. 


" I want to make you some rosemary conserve, but 
I must wait till you send back some of my glass jars, 
because I have nothing to put it in. At the same 
time, if you have any empty jars or phials which are 
in the way, I should be glad to have them for the 

From another letter we learn that the clock, " which 
Galileo had been sent first to one and then to the 

mends the , 

convent clock, other, with no improvement, was going well 
now that Galileo had set it to rights. We learn, too, 
that this spring was a season of sickness at the con- 
vent. Sister Maria Celeste remarks that it would 
appear as if she were destined always to be the mes- 
senger of bad news ; nevertheless she will not com- 
plain, but thanks God for everything, as she knows 
not a leaf turns but by his will. 


Inequalities among the Sisterhood. The Mistress. Galileo's 
Liberality. Madness of Sister Arcangela's Mistress. Tact 
Necessary to enjoy Peace in a Convent. The Clock Wrong 
again. Galileo concludes the " Dialogue." Delays and Hin- 
drances. Revision of the Work. His Daughter's Anxiety. 
Disappointment at Rome. The Pope still Friendly. 
Galileo's Return Home. The Plague. Difficulty of obtain- 
ing a License to print. Sister Maria Celeste's Jealousy. 
The Energy of the Abbess. Galileo's Versatility. Vin- 
cenzio's Flight to Prato Consoling Letter of Sister Maria 
Celeste. Galileo writes a Letter for the Abbess. Vin- 
cenzio's Idleness. The Nun's Pious Exhortations. Alms 

to the Convent. Winter Privations Preservatives from 

Plague. Sister Violante's Death. Pecuniary Anxieties. 
Christmas Gifts. 

IT has been already said that the vow of poverty, 
heavy enough at all times under the Franciscan rule, 
yet weighed disproportionately on some members of 
the community. At St. Matthew it was the custom, as 
in some convents in the present day, for the inequalities 

, among the 

nuns to have such comfort and accommoda- sisterhood. 
tion as they chose to pay for. There appears to have 
been no fixed sum for the dowry of women taking the 
veil, nor did those who possessed the larger income 
give up the surplus to enrich the common stock. 
They were allowed to pay rent for, or to purchase for 
their life-time, private rooms, which they fitted up 
according to their means. The common dormitory 
and common living room were therefore only occupied 


by such of the sisters as were too poor to pay for 
privacy. Of course the rent from these private rooms 
helped the scanty revenues of the convent, and thus 
indirectly the poorer nuns benefited. 

From Sister Maria Celeste's letter of the 8th of 
July, 1629, we gain an insight into the innermost 
workings of the convent life in one of the best-ordered 
establishments of the time : 

" Your lordship partly knows to what inconvenience 
I have been put ever since I first came here, because 
of the scarcity of cells. Now, I must explain that the 
small cell for which (according to the custom among 
the nuns) we paid the mistress thirty-six crowns, two 
or three years ago, I have been obliged to give up 
entirely to Sister Arcangela, in order that she may be, 
Themis- as mucn as possible, separated from the 
tress. said mistress ; for I feared that, owing to 

the extraordinary eccentricities of the latter, her con- 
stant society would prove most detrimental to Sister 
Arcangela. Besides, as Sister Arcangela's disposition 
is very different to mine, being rather odd and whim- 
sical, it is better for me to give up to her in many 
things, in order to preserve that peace and unity 
which accords with the exceeding love we bear each 
other. Wherefore I find myself by night in the tire- 
some company of the mistress. Nevertheless, by the 
Lord's help, by whom doubtless these trials are per- 
mitted for my good, I get through it most joyfully : 
and by day I am quite a pilgrim, having no corner of 
my own wherein to pass a quiet hour. 

" I do not wish for a large or handsome room, but 
sister Maria merely for a little cabinet just the size of 
letter** the small cell in question. There is one 


now which the nun to whom it belongs wishes to sell, 
being in need of money. Thanks to Sister Luisa, 
who kindly spoke of me, she will give me the refusal 
of it in preference to many others who wish to become 
purchasers. But as the value of the cell is thirty-five 
crowns (y/. 15^. 5j^/.), and I have but ten, which 
Sister Luisa has lent me, and five which I expect 
from my own income, I cannot take possession of it, 
and fear it may be lost to me altogether, unless your 
lordship is able to supply the sum wanting, namely, 
twenty crowns. 

" I explain my wants to your lordship with filial 
security and without ceremony, that I may not offend 
that kindness which I have so often experienced. 

" I will only say further, that in the monastic con- 
dition I could have no greater necessity for anything 
than what I have already explained (that is, Her wish to 
to possess some place where I could be quite be alone - 
private and retired). Loving me as I know you do, 
and wishing above all things my happiness and com- 
fort, you will feel that to have a cell of my own 
would be greatly conducive thereto ; and also to 
desire only a little peace and solitude is a proper and 
honest desire. 

" You might say that the sum I ask is large, and 
that I might content myself with the thirty crowns (6/. 
13^. 3^.) which the convent still has of yours. To 
this I answer that, besides its being impossible for me 
to get that money paid back at this moment, and the 
nun who wants to sell being in great want, you prom- 
ised the Mother Abbess that you would not ask for 
the money unless the convent happened to receive 
relief from some quarter, and that only if such an oc- 


casion arose was it to be paid down at once. But I 
do not think that for the sake of these thirty crowns 
you will hesitate to do me this great kindness, which I 
ask for the love of God. For indeed I belong to the 
number of those poor wretches laid in prison. And I 
may call myself not only poor, but also ashamed ; for, 
indeed, I should not dare express my wants so openly 
in your presence, or Vincenzio's either. I only ven- 
ture on writing this letter, having full assurance that 
you can and will help me. In fine, I recommend my- 
self affectionately to you, as well as to Vincenzio and 
his bride. May the Lord give you length of days and 

Galileo gave the thirty crowns, but Sister Maria 
Galileo's Celeste was no better off. The community 
liberality. was large, and the Abbess at her wits' ends 
to make both ends meet From the nun's letter of 
the 22d of November, 1629, we gain an impression 
that Galileo was a very easy man to deal with in re- 
gard to money matters. Such at least seems to have 
been the impression of the Lady Abbess of St. Mat- 
thew. Sister Maria Celeste tries to keep the matter 
to herself, and for some weeks only discourses of such 
trifles as a pattern of a new collar, of which she is 
making a set for her father, or of cinnamon-water, or 
of the Brescian thread which she wanted for embroi- 
dering her sister-in-law's handkerchief, or of the phial 
containing scorpions preserved in oil, which Galileo 
had sent as a present to her and Sister Luisa, proba- 
bly to adorn a shelf in the pharmacy. But the con- 
cealment weighs on her, and at length she resolves to 
make a clean breast of it. 1 

1 Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, November 22, 1629. 

1629] MADNESS OF A NUN. 165 

"Now that the tempest of our many troubles is 
somewhat abated, I will no longer delay telling you all 
about them ; hoping thereby to lighten the burden on 
my own mind, and desiring also to excuse myself for 
writing twice in such a hurry, and not with the respect 
I owe you. The fact was, that I was half out Madness of 
of my senses with fear (and so were the other J *ca^&>, 
nuns) at the furious behavior of our mistress, mistress - 
who during these last few days has twice endeavored 
to kill herself. The first time she knocked her head 
against the floor with such violence that her features 
became quite monstrous and deformed. The second 
time she gave herself thirteen wounds, of which two 
were in the throat. You may imagine our consterna- 
tion on finding her all over blood and wounded in this 
manner. But the strangest thing of all was, that at 
the time that she inflicted these injuries upon herself, 
she made a noise to attract somebody to her cell, and 
then she asked for the confessor. In confession she 
gave up to him the instrument with which she had 
cut herself, in order that nobody might see it (though, 
as far as we can guess, it was a penknife). It seems 
that, though mad, she is cunning. And we must con- 
clude that this is some dark judgment upon her from 
God, who lets her live when according to human judg- 
ment she ought to die, her wounds being all danger- 
ous in the surgeon's opinion. In consequence, she 
has been watched day and night. At present we are 
all well, thank God, and she is tied down in her bed, 
but has just the same frenzy as ever, so that we are 
in constant terror of something dangerous happening. 

" Now I have told you of our trouble, I want to tell 
you another which weighs me down. Some time ago 


you were so kind as to give me the thirty crowns I 
asked for (I did not venture to tell you my mind freely 
when you asked me the other day whether I had got 
the cell). I went with the money in my hand to find 
the nun to whom the cell belonged. She, being in 
great distress, would willingly have taken the money, 
but she loved her cell so dearly that she could not 
bear to give it up. This being the case, we could not 
agree ; so the matter fell to the ground, as I for my 
part only wished for the cell in order to have a little 
place to myself. Now, as I had assured you I was 
going to have it, I was greatly grieved ; not so much 
at having to go without my little room, as for thinking 
that you would think I had been deceiving you, 
though indeed such was not my intention. And I do 
wish I had never had this money, for it has been a 
great anxiety to me. It so happened that just then 
the Mother Abbess was in need of money, and I lent 
her these twenty crowns ; and now she, out of grati- 
tude and kindness, has promised me the cell of the 
nun who is ill, as I told you. This room is a fine 
large room, and the price of it is one hundred and 
twenty crowns, but as a particular favor she would let 
me have it for eighty. In this, as on many other occa- 
sions, she has always favored me. But as she well 
knows I cannot pay eighty crowns at once, she offers 
to take in account those thirty crowns of yours that 
the convent has had so long ; this, of course, will only 
be done with your consent. I can scarcely doubt of 
your giving it, knowing as I do that you like me to be 
comfortable, and this opportunity being one that will 
not occur again. 

" Please let me have an answer to give the Mother 


Abbess ; she quits office in a few days, and is engaged 
in making up her accounts. 

" I should like to know how you feel now the weather 
is milder. Having nothing better, I send you a little 
quince marmalade, made poor man's fashion ; that is, 
mixed with apples. If you do not care for it, perhaps 
others will. If you have a fancy for any dish made 
by us nuns, please let us know, for we shall be glad 
to do something to your liking. I have not forgotten 
my obligation to Porzia (Galileo's housekeeper), but 
for the present I can do nothing for her. If you have 
any more scraps (of cloth), I should be glad of them, 
as I have been waiting for them to begin working with 
what I have already. 

" While writing the above, I hear that the sick nun 
has had such a fit that it is thought she cannot live 
long. If this be the case, I shall have to give the rest 
01 the money for the burial expenses. 

" I have a chaplet of agate which you gave me long 
ago, which is quite useless to me ; but I think it would 
do nicely for our sister-in-law. I send it for you to 
look at, and if you like it, would you take it back, and 
send me a little money for my present wants ? I hope, 
please God, this will be the last time I shall trouble 
you for such a large sum ; but in truth I have none to 
turn to for assistance, except your lordship and my 
most faithful Sister Luisa, who does all she can to 
assist me ; but we are shut up here, and, in short, have 
not that power to act which ofttimes we want. Blessed 
be the Lord, who never forgets us ! For his sake I 
pray your lordship to pardon me if I weary you. I 
trust that He will not leave unrepaid the many benefits 
which you have conferred and still confer upon us. I 


pray for this with all my heart, and I beg you to excuse 
all mistakes ; for I have no time to read over this long 

In the beginning of January the sisters were again 
illness at m trouble. One of the mistresses, an aged 
the convent. nun j n h er eightieth year, Sister Giulia by 
name, whom Galileo had noticed during his Christmas 
visit to the convent on account of her liveliness and 
activity, was suddenly taken dangerously ill of fever, 
as also another of the nuns, Sister Violante. Sister 
Luisa, Sister Maria Celeste's faithful friend, was over- 
come with grief at the prospect of losing her beloved 
mistress. Sister Giulia was kind and motherly, and 
did not keep her " child " awake all night, like Sister 
Arcangela's poor mad mistress. Though ill herself, 
Sister Maria Celeste equaled her friend in affection- 
ate assiduity at the aged nun's bedside. Galileo's cel- 
lar, as it had often done before, supplied the good old 
wine for the invalid's support. 

In the midst of her duties as sick-nurse, Sister Maria 
Celeste found time to think of every one. She sent 
fresh eggs for her father's supper, and worked ker- 
chiefs for Porzia. Sister Maria Grazia, a nun now 
mentioned for the first time, wanted to write a letter 
of ceremony, a begging letter it might be, to some high 
personage. Being no scribe herself, she applied to 
Sister Maria Celeste, who did her best, and submitted 
it to her father for approval. If he did not think it 
properly written, another should be indited according 
to his directions, though indeed, as Sister Maria Ce- 
leste complains, the day is not half long enough for 
what she has to do. Another nun, Sister Brigida by 
name, had been asking her father a service, nothing 


less than a contribution to the dowry of some poor 
girl in whom she was interested. If Galileo's pocket 
was thus made to suffer every time he visited St. Mat- 
thew's, can we wonder if sometimes those visits were 
suspended? In one of her letters, his daughter ex- 
presses her fear lest his displeasure at something said 
or done by some one not named should be the reason 
of his keeping away. 

There was need of great tact in Sister Maria Ce- 
leste's dealings with the different members Tact ^^ 
of the community. Sister Clara, her cousin, 
was given to take offense and to be suspi- 
cious on slight grounds. On one occasion we find 
Sister Maria Celeste begging her father to let Sister 
Clara have the loan of his little mule, because else 
she would think that she had asked him not to let her 
have it, and then there would be discord and heart- 
burning. As the mule could not have been required 
for the use of a cloistered nun, it is probable that 
Sister Clara wanted it for some member of her own 

At all events, Sister Maria Celeste is careful to keep 
the peace with everybody, as far as may be. She begs 
for some Dutch cheese for Sister Arcangela, who will 
not be happy till she gets it. The clock The dock 
has been in Vincenzio's hands, and goes gS. 
worse than ever. She sends it to her father in despair ; 
if any one can make that clock go, he will be the one 
to do it. Yet perhaps its not going is more her fault 
than Vincenzio's ; or else it is because the cord is bad. 
At all events, mended the clock must be, and Galileo 
must mend it, and quickly too, " for those nuns will let 
her have no peace else." For herself, she only begs 
for more scraps for her patchwork. 

Galileo's great work, the " Dialogue on the Ptole- 

con- maic and Copernican Systems," was finally 
"z?i concluded in the beginning of March, 1630- 

March, 1630. As a mark of the affection he felt for his 
pupil and patron, and also that the work might appear 
under the most favorable auspices, it was dedicated to 
the Grand Duke Ferdinand. 

But neither the astronomer's fame nor the Grand 
Duke's protection was sufficient to insure the appear- 
ance of the book. The sanction of the authorities 
was necessary ere it could be printed, and, in order to 
obtain this with as little delay as possible, Galileo was 
advised by Ciampoli and Castelli to go himself to 
Rome. Riccardi, Master of the Sacred Palace, had 
given his word that, as far as he was concerned, Galileo 
Cardinal should meet with no difficulty in obtaining 

Antonio, the , . . 

Pope's the desired license. The Barbermi were all 

Cardinals well disposed. The Pope had expressed his 

regret to Campanella 2 at the prohibition 
Chews'. (by the Decree of 1616) of the Copernican 
theory, and had said distinctly, that, had it depended 
on him, that decree would not have been published. 3 
Ciampoli, though he could not venture to speak with 
absolute certainty, yet was of opinion that the surest 
way to success lay in Galileo's own personal influence 
and in his rare powers of persuasion. 4 While his 

1 Castelli to Galileo, February 6, 1630. 

2 Fra Tommaso Campanella, a Calabrian by birth, had been 
confined in the dungeons of Naples for twenty-five years, under 
suspicion of designs against the Spanish Government. He was 
liberated by Urban VIII., and lived for some time at Rome, but 
afterwards went to Paris, where he died. 

8 Castelli to Galileo, March 16, 1630. 
* Ibid., February 6, 1630. 

1630.] VISIT TO THE CONVENT. 17 1 

friends were thus urging him to come, his daughter, 
knowing how frail he was, contemplated the journey 
with anxiety. In her letter of the i4th March she 
hopes he will come and see her and her sister before 
he goes. Then, after telling him how busy she is, and 
reminding him that he had promised her a "Polite 
Letter Writer," comes the practical housewifely post- 
script, " If you want any collars washed, please send 
them, and eat these fresh eggs for love of me." 

For many days Sister Maria Celeste went on hoping 
to see her father ; but Galileo, absorbed in the revision 
of his work, found no time to go to St. Matthew's, even 
to wish his daughters the customary " happy Easter." 
Sister Maria Celeste, hearing how deeply her Her loving 
father was immersed in study, could not strances, 
refrain from an affectionate remonstrance. She does 
not wish him to shorten his precious life, she says, for 
the sake of immortal fame. He must take care of 
himself for his children's sake. She reminds him ten- 
derly that though they all love him, yet she loves him 
with a love far surpassing theirs, and suffering to him 
is affliction and torment to her. 

On the 1 2th of April, Galileo found time to pay the 
long-wished-for visit. He was made to promise 
another, which was to be a kind of family gathering, 
before his departure for Rome. There was to be a 
repast in the parlor. The two sisters would be there 
expecting their father, sister-in-law, and brother at the 
convent dinner hour ; but the dinner to which he was 
invited was to be of Galileo's own providing. Sister 
Maria Celeste, finding that between Ptolemy and Co- 
pernicus her father was becoming strangely forgetful 
of such trivialities as entrees and removes, sends a 


little note to remind him that she does not want either 
lemons or rosemary, but that she does want something 
substantial ; in particular a flask of wine, two cream- 
cheeses, and some other dish that will do to come 
after the roast. 

The Mother Abbess could not let pass such an op- 
portunity of detailing the needs of the convent, and 
entreating Galileo's good offices towards procuring 
relief from Rome. She neither felt ashamed of making 
such a request, nor doubted its being granted. Gal- 
lileo, the Pope's friend, could surely ask alms for her, 
as well as mend the convent clock, and lend money, 
and give the sick nuns wine from his well-stocked 
cellar. Sister Maria Celeste had her own private 
opinion on the matter. 

Galileo set out for Rome in the beginning of May. 
Galileo sets Personally, he had no reason to be dissatis- 
May\. c **' fied with his reception at the Papal Court. 
Cardinal Barberini had declared that he had no better 
friend than the Pope ; and a person who had ventured 
to bring to his Eminence a vile and mendacious report 
concerning Galileo's private life, was met with a stern 
Disappoint- anc ^ well- merited rebuff. But in the object 
ment. of his journey he was doomed to disappoint- 

ment. The result of his audiences with the Pope 
showed him that the recognition of the Copernican 
system, so ardently looked for by him under this pon- 
tificate, was as far off as ever. The Pope, however, 
did not object to the publication of the " Dialogue," if 
certain conditions were complied with. These were, 
first, that the title was to show forth plainly that the 
Copernican system was treated as a mere hypothesis. 
Secondly, that the book itself was to conclude with an 

1630.] THE PLAGUE. 173 

argument of his own, which his Holiness considered 
unanswerable. Rather than forego the publication of 
a work which had been the daily and nightly labor of 
so many years, Galileo consented. He doubtless felt 
that such minds as were capable of following his train 
of reasoning in favor of the truth of the Copernican 
system, would be no more convinced of the falsity of 
it by the Pope's argument than he himself was. The 
manuscript was returned to him with the necessary 
license, after a careful examination by Riccardi and his 
colleague Visconti, and he returned to Florence about 
the end of June. During his stay at Rome, Ga m eo -> s 
his daughter had been desired by the Mother retumhonu. 
Abbess to remind him of her request that he would 
seize any available opportunity of asking alms for the 
convent She obeyed this order, but, at the same 
time, added her opinion as to the request. " It ap- 
pears to me," she says, " a most ridiculous thing for 
people to ask favors of strangers, who probably have 
their own friends and country people to relieve. It is 
nevertheless true," she adds, " that we are in penury, 
and if it were not for the alms we get sometimes, we 
should be in danger of dying of hunger." 

Galileo had returned to Florence intending to com- 
plete the index and the dedication, and then send the 
manuscript to his friend Prince Federigo Cesi, who 
had offered to superintend the printing of it. Riccardi 
was to revise the proof-sheets after Cesi. But in the 
month of August the Prince died. In him Galileo 
lost the best and most influential, as well as the most 
enlightened friend he possessed out of Tuscany. 

The plague had broken out with such virulence that 
communication between Rome and Florence 
was suspended. Galileo, anxious for the ap- 


pearance of his book, endeavored to obtain permission 
Difficulty of from the papal authorities to have it printed 

obtaining a, 

license to in Florence. Fresh difficulties arose in con- 

print at r . . , 

Florence. sequence of this request ; but at last permis- 
sion was given him to print the " Dialogue," provided 
he obtained the license of the Inquisitor-General and 
the Vicar-General of Florence. 1 To this end he was 
obliged to go almost daily into the city. No slight un- 
dertaking this from Bellosguardo on a summer's day, 
even when there was no fear of plague infection. Sis- 
His ter Maria Celeste, anxious at his silence, 

tmxuty. miserable because of the length of time he 
allowed to elapse between his visits, thought, as usual, 
that his love for her must be waning ; that the sister-in- 
law, always present, was making him forget the absent 
Her daughter. Her evident jealousy would be 

jealousy. ridiculous were it not so clear that it only 
arose from her humble opinion of herself. She does 
not for a moment think that she possesses any right to 
her father's love, much less to help from his purse 
and larder. At length Galileo, having obtained the 
desired license from the inquisitorial and clerical 
authorities, was able to take rest and write to his 

Her answer is dated the 2ist of July, 1630 : 
" Just as I was thinking of sending you a long lam- 
entation because of your never coming to see me, I 
receive your most loving letter, which shuts my mouth 
entirely. I must accuse myself of being fearful and 
suspicious, for I did doubt whether the love you have 
for those nearest you might not be the cause of some 
coolness and diminution in your love for us who are 

i Pietro Niccolini and Clemente Egidi, Inquisitor and Vicar- 


absent. I know truly that this fear of mine shows 
that I possess a mean, cowardly soul, for I ought gen- 
erously to feel persuaded that as I allow myself to be 
equaled by nobody in my love for you, so in like man- 
ner your love for me surpasses that you bear your 
other daughters. I believe my fear arises from my 
knowledge of the small merit I possess. But enough 
of this. We were grieved to hear of your being ill, 
but really, after taking a journey at this time of the 
year, I do not see how it could be otherwise. I was 
astonished to hear of your going into Florence every 
day. Pray take a few days' rest ; do not even come 
to see us. We would rather you kept well, than have 
the pleasure of your company. 

" Will you see whether by chance you have a chaplet 
left ? If so, would you bring it when you do come 
next ? I should like to send it to Signora Ortensia, to 
whom I have not written for a length of time. It is a 
long time, too, since I wrote to your lordship. I could 
not write before, for I was quite overpowered with 
weakness and lassitude, and had not energy enough 
to move my pen. Thank God, since the abatement 
of the heat I have been better. I pray continually 
that we may both be preserved in health. I had been 
keeping these twelve sweet biscuits for you, but send 
them now, lest they should spoil. We thank you for 
the wine and the fruit, both extremely acceptable. 
The little biscuits are for Virginia." 

It is not clear who this Virginia is. All we can tell 
with certainty is that she was a young relative of 
Galileo's, and that about this time she came to live in 
his house. Probably she was one of the Landucci 


The Mother Abbess for the time being was a woman 
Energy of ^ g reater energy than her predecessors. 
the Abbess. gh e a t least was determined to lose nothing 
for want of asking. Accordingly she sends petitions 
to various great personages, not forgetting the Grand 
Duke and Grand Duchess. When relief of any sort 
arrives in answer, she sends to ask Galileo's advice as 
to the most proper way of making her acknowledg- 
ments. Galileo gives advice, and sends dainties for 
the poor, sick nun, Sister Violante, such as a dish of 
frogs or a melon. 

In a letter written on the loth of September, 1630, 
Galileo's WG & et an o tner glimpse of Galileo's delight- 
versatmty. f u } faculty for turning his hand to everything 
and anything. He has already appeared as artist, 
musician, mathematician, physician, glass-blower, as- 
tronomer, and poet. Now we hear of him as a gla- 
zier ! x 

" Yesterday evening," his daughter writes, " the 
Serenissima (Grand Duke Ferdinand's consort) sent 
us a present of a fine stag, which was most joyfully 
received. I do not think the hunters who killed it 
could have made so much noise over it as the nuns 
made when it was brought in. 

" Now that the weather is getting cooler, Sister Arc- 
angela and I, together with those of the nuns whom 
we love best, have planned to sit at work together in 
my cell, which is very roomy. But the window being 
very high, it wants glazing, in order that we may see a 
little better. 2 I should like to send you the panels for 

1 On one occasion he was asked to furnish a design for a new 
coach which Cardinal Barberino wished to have built. 

2 The common window of this period was no more than an 


you to glaze them with waxed linen, which, even if 
old, will answer the purpose quite as well as if it were 
new. But I should like to know first whether you 
have any objection to do this for me. Not that I 
doubt of your kindness, but because it is a piece of 
work rather fitter for a carpenter than for a philosopher. 
So please to say exactly what you think about it." 

The plague, already rife within the city gates, now 
began to spread to the suburbs. Even Bellosguardo, 
the fashionable suburb, whose reputation for salubrity 
equaled the beauty of its view over the Val d'Arno, 
was not spared; one of Galileo's own household, a 
glass-blower, was taken. Vincenzio, seized vi ncenz i i s 
by a panic unworthy of the son of Galileo, fl { ht - 
fled with his wife to Prato, leaving his father alone, 
and his child out at nurse in the neighborhood of the 

On the 1 8th of October, 1630, Sister Maria Celeste 
writes : 

" I am troubled beyond measure at the thought of 
your distress and consternation at the sudden death 
of your poor glass-worker. I entreat you to omit no 
possible precaution against the present danger. I 
believe that you have by you all the remedies and 
preventives which are required, so I will not repeat. 
Yet I would entreat you, with all due reverence and 
filial confidence, to procure one more remedy, the 
best of all, to wit, the grace of God, by means of true 

opening in the wall, fitted with a shutter, in which was a hole, 
letting in a ray of light when the shutter was shut to keep out 
the extremes of heat and cold. Such unglazed windows still 
exist in out-of-the-way, poverty-stricken localities in Italy and 



contrition and penitence. This is without doubt the 
Consoling most efficacious medicine both for soul and 
body. For if, in order to avoid this sick- 
ness, it is necessary to be always of good 
cheer what greater joy can we have in this world than 
the possession of a good and serene conscience ? 

" It is certain that once having this treasure we shall 
fear neither danger nor death. And since the Lord 
sees fit to chastise us with these plagues, let us by his 
help stand prepared to receive the stroke from his 
Almighty hand, who, having given us life, may take it 
from us when and how it pleases Him. 

"I pray your lordship to accept these few words, 
Herframe P rom pted by the deepest affection. I wish 
of mind. a i so t o acquaint you of the frame of mind in 
which I find myself at present. I am desirous of pass- 
ing away to the next life, for every day I see more 
clearly the vanity and misery of this present one. And 
besides that I should then no longer offend our blessed 
Lord, I would hope that my prayers for your lordship 
would have greater efficacy. I do not know whether 
my desire be a selfish one ; may the Lord, who sees 
all, in his mercy supply me where I am wanting 
through ignorance, and may He give you true conso- 

" Here we are all in health except Sister Viol ante, 
who lingers on from day to day. Poverty weighs 
heavily on us, but, by God's help, not to our bodily 

" I am writing at seven o'clock (i A. M.), therefore 
Her daily * n P e y ou wu ^ excuse mistakes. By day I 
occupations. h ave not a single hour that I can call my 
own, for now, in addition to my other occupations, by 


Madonna's order I have to instruct four of the younger 
sisters in choir-singing, besides which I have to arrange 
the choral service every day. From my having no 
knowledge of Latin, I find this no small labor. It is 
true that all these occupations would be to my taste 
were I not obliged to work in order to earn money. 
But in one way I am a gainer, for I never have a quar- 
ter of an hour's idleness, except when I am asleep. If 
your lordship could tell me the secret which enables 
you to do with so little sleep, I should be much obliged, 
for seven hours seem a great deal too much, and yet I 
cannot tell how to manage with less on account of my 

About this time a new Archbishop * was appointed 
to the see of Florence. The Abbess of St. Matthew, 
not feeling herself capable of inditing a proper letter, 
delegated the duty to Sister Maria Celeste, who, not 
being accustomed to write to Archbishops, and not find- 
ing a model of a letter in her " Polite Letter Galileo 
Writer," applied to her father. Galileo sent j^} 
back a copy of such a letter as the Abbess th Abbess ' 
wished we may suppose that the strain of it was a 
fine mixture of congratulations and begging saying 
at the same time he feared it was not well done. His 
daughter replies : " Though you say you have not 
done it nicely, still it will be a great deal better than 
anything I could have done alone, and I am infinitely 
obliged to you for writing it." 

After discoursing on the merits of some quinces 
which she hoped to get for her father, she says : 

" I should be glad to know whether or not Vincen- 
zio was really gone to Prato. I was thinking I would 
1 Pietro Niccolini. 


write and give him a piece of my mind on this subject, 
and advise him not to go, or at any rate not to leave 
the household so inconveniently situated. His going 
away in this manner really seems exceedingly strange 
at this present juncture, as there is no saying what 
may happen. But fearing to make the embroilment 
worse, I did not put my intention into effect. I have 
the assurance that Almighty God will supply you by 
His providence where men fail you. I would not say 
that the failing in this case was for want of affection, 
but rather for want of understanding and considera- 

" Our friends here join me in hearty greetings, and 
my poor prayers accompany you unceasingly." 

From the next three letters we learn that Vincenzio 
was still away, leaving his aged father with a scanty 
Vincenzio's hcmsehold. His idleness had already been 
idleness. a great source of pain to Galileo. Finding 
that he could not obtain such a post in Florence as 
was commensurate with his ideas of his own impor- 
tance, he preferred to live at his father's expense 
rather than seek employment in some humbler neigh- 
borhood. We also learn that the petitions and beg- 
ging letters of the Mother Abbess were successful, 
though it would appear that Galileo's request at Rome 
had failed to procure alms for the convent. 

His daughter's exhortations during this time are 
most touching. She entreats him sweetly not to brood 
over his enforced loneliness, not to chafe inordinately 
at Vincenzio's ill-behavior, but to fix his thoughts 
steadfastly on heaven. Remembering the daily danger 
hanging over their heads, this pious nun seeks earn- 
estly to speak of spiritual things so as to attract and 


not offend or disgust her dear and learned father, the 
greatest man in all Italy. Her exhortations, sister Maria 
though vastly similar to other sermons, lay fj. 
and clerical, on the same subject down to hortations. 
our own day, still become strangely touching when we 
reflect that these commonplaces were not commonplace 
to her ; that they were no empty echoes of sermons she 
had heard or good books she had read. Except her 
breviary, the only book we know of her reading was 
her father's " Saggiatore " for which she was probably 
very little the wiser. We know that the nuns would 
have two courses of sermons in the year, one for Ad- 
vent and the other for Lent. But Sister Maria Ce- 
leste's pious teachings are no fag-ends of last Sunday's 
discourse. They come straight from the depths of her 
tender heart, and are delivered with a diffidence and 
humility most unconventual. Spiritual arrogance, we 
must remember, was not the least of the abuses of the 
monastic system in the seventeenth century. 

" I know," she says, 1 " that your lordship knows 
better than I do that tribulation is the touchstone 
whereon is proved the genuineness of our love to God." 

Then again : " I pray you not to take the knife of 
these crosses and disturbances by the wrong end, so 
that you may not offend because of them. But rather 
take it by the haft, and use it to cut through all the 
imperfections which you may discover in yourself, that 
being thus freed from all impediments, you may in like 
manner, as with a lynx-like eye you have penetrated the 
heavens, so, penetrating the things of this lower world 
you may come to know the vanity and fallacy of all 

earthly things For neither the love of children, 

1 Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, November 2, 1630. 


nor pleasures, nor honor, nor riches, can give us true 
happiness, seeing that all these things are by nature 
too unstable. Only in our gracious God can we find 
true rest. O, what rejoicing will be ours, when the 
thin veil that enfolds us is rent, and we are able to see 
the Most High face to face ! " 

Then after reminding her father of the short span 
of life that yet remained to enable them to make their 
peace with God, she continues, as if she feared that 
her foregoing words might in some way offend his 
amour propre : 

" Now it seems to me, dearest lord and father, that 
your lordship is walking in the right path, since you 
take hold of every occasion that presents itself to 
shower continual benefits on those who only repay you 
with ingratitude. This is an action which is all the 
more virtuous and perfect as it is the more difficult. 
This virtue seems to me, more than any other, to ren- 
der you like to the same God who (as we have often 
experienced), though we daily offend His Divine Maj- 
esty, still continues to grant us infinite benefits. If 
He sometimes chastises us, it is for our good, even as 
a wise father takes the rod to correct his son. Thus 
it seems to be the case with our poor city at present, 
in order that, through fear of the impending danger, 
we may amend our lives." 

After mentioning that an acquaintance, Messer Mat- 
teo Ninci, had died of the plague, leaving his family 
in deep grief, Sister Maria Celeste aflds : 

" But I will not be the bearer of bad news alone, 
but tell you that the letter I wrote for Madonna to my 
lord Archbishop l was extremely agreeable to him. 
1 Pietro Niccolini, Archbishop of Florence. 


He has sent us a courteous reply, offering to help us 
in any way he can, and promising his protection. 

" Also, there has been a good result to the two pe- 
titions I sent last week to the Serenissima 1 and to 
Madama. 2 

" On All Saints' day we had three hundred loaves 
from Madama, and an order to send for a A i mstothe 
bushel of wheat. So Madonna's grief at ** 
not having wherewith to sow is lightened now. 

" Pray your lordship pardon me if my chattering be- 
comes wearisome. You incite me to it by telling me 
you are pleased to have my letters. I look upon you 
as my patron saint (to speak according to our custom 
here), to whom I tell all my joys and griefs. And 
finding you always ready to listen, I ask (not indeed 
for everything I want, for that would be too much), 
but just for what I find most needful at the time. Now 
the cold weather is coming, and I shall be Winter 
quite benumbed if you do not send me a privations. 
counterpane, for the one I am using at present is not 
mine, and the person to whom it belongs wants it re- 
turned. The one you gave me, as well as the woolen 
one, I have let Sister Arcangela have. She prefers 
sleeping alone, and I am quite willing she should do 
so. But in consequence I have only a serge coverlet 
remaining ; and if I wait till I have earned money 
enough to buy myself a counterpane, I shall not have 
put by enough even by next winter. So I entreat my 
most beloved Devoto, who I know well enough cannot 
bear that I should want for anything. May it be the 
Lord's pleasure (if so it be for the best) to preserve 

1 The Grand Duke's consort. 

2 The Grand Duke's mother. 


him to me for many a year, for he is my only earthly 

" But it is grief to me to be able to give him noth- 
ing in exchange ! At least, I will endeavor so to 
importunate our gracious God and the most Holy Ma- 
donna, that he may be received into Paradise. This 
will be the best recompense I can give for all the 
kindnesses so constantly received by me." 

" I send you two pots of electuary as a preserva- 
tive against the plague. The one without the label 
consists of dried figs, walnuts, rue, and salt, mixed 
together with honey. A piece of the size of a walnut 
is to be taken in the morning, fasting, with a little 
Greek wine (or any other good wine). They say its 
efficacy is wonderful. It is true that what is in the 
pot is baked rather too much ; we did not take into 
account the tendency the figs have to get into lumps. 
The other pot is to be taken in the same way ; the 
taste of it is rather more tart. If you like to continue 
taking either of them, we will try to make it better 
next time. 

"You said in your letter that you had sent the 
telescope, but I think you must have forgotten to put 
it in, and therefore remind you of it, also of the bas- 
ket in which I sent the quinces, because I want to 
send you some more if I can meet with any." 

All through the month of November the plague 
increase of gradually increased. Sister Maria Celeste, 
the plague in i^e ever y one e i se m *the panic-stricken 

etna, ciroutict + 

Florence. neighborhood, sought anxiously for such 
panaceas as were most in vogue, with this difference, 
that while others thought only of their own preserva- 
tion, she thought only of her father's. Among these 

1630.] THE PLAGUE. 185 

panaceas, one more highly vaunted than the rest, per- 
haps from the difficulty with which it was procured, 
was a strong water or liqueur made by Abbess Ursula, 
a Pistoian nun who enjoyed a great reputation for 
sanctity. From the rank of lay sister, this nun, though 
unable to read, had risen to the highest grade a nun 
could enjoy, and had brought the community over 
which she ruled into a state of excellent discipline. 
So great a demand was there for her manufactures, 
that Sister Maria Celeste found it most difficult to ob- 
tain a phial of this strong water ; such of the nuns as 
possessed any looked upon it as a relic, and were for- 
bidden to part with it. Sister Maria Celeste, how- 
ever, obtained a small quantity of this liqueur, as a 
favor, and hastened to send it to her father, begging 
him to take it. By the same messenger she sent a 
little note, in which, as a further inducement to faith 
in the contents of the phial, she assured him that she 
had by her four or five letters of this blessed Mother, 
and other writings, which she had read with much 
profit, and that she had heard from persons worthy 
of credit many accounts of her singular perfection. 
" Therefore," she continues, " I pray your lordship to 
have faith in this remedy. For if you have so much 
faith in my poor miserable prayers, much more may 
you have in those of such a holy person ; indeed, 
through her merits you may feel sure of escaping all 
danger from the plague." 

We are not able to say from his daughter's succeed- 
ing letters whether Galileo took Abbess Ursula's 
liqueur, or whether he preferred the electuary made 
of nuts, dried figs, rue, salt, and honey. The next 
letter, dated 26th November, gives an account of the 
death of poor Sister Violante. 


"On Sunday morning, at the fourteenth hour, our 
sister Sister Violante passed away to a better life. 

Violante's , TT , . . . 

death. We may hope that she is now in a state 

of blessedness, having borne a painful and lingering 
illness with much patience and submission to the 
Lord's will. Truly for the last month she was re- 
duced to such a distressing state of weakness, being 
unable even to turn in her bed, and taking nourish- 
ment with extreme difficulty, that death appeared to 
her almost desirable, as a termination to her many 
sufferings. I wished to tell you of this before, but 
had no time to write ; I have only time now to add 
that by God's grace we are all well, and that I want 
to know whether it is the same with you and your 
scanty household, particularly our little Galileino. 1 
The counterpane you sent is really too good for me. 
I thank you for it, and pray the Lord to repay you 
your constant kindness by giving you an increase of 
his grace now, and the glory of Paradise hereafter." 

We now first hear of Dame Piera, a discreet and 
Galileo^ prudent woman, who had succeeded Porzia 
housekeeper. as housekeeper, and whose presence in Gal- 
ileo's house lightened in some degree the burden of 
anxiety always on Sister Maria Celeste's mind. It may 
be fairly concluded that Madonna Piera was an old 
acquaintance, or even a humble friend, of the family 
and it may be said with an approach to certainty, that 
Galileo and his house were better looked after under 
her government than when superintended by Porzia or 
Vincenzio's wife. After her coming there are no longer 
such constant complaints in Sister Maria Celeste's let- 
ters of baskets and dishes which ought to be returned, 
1 Galileo's infant grandchild. 

1630.] POVERTY OF THE NUNS. 187 

and which must be lying about somewhere in the house. 
"Knowing her great judgment and discretion," she 
writes, " I shall regain that peace of mind which else 
were wanting, whenever I thought of you, deprived in 
in this most perilous time of all other and dearer com- 
pany and assistance. Nevertheless, I think of you 
day and night, and many a time do I mourn over the 
distance which prevents my having daily news of 

" Nevertheless, I trust by God's mercy that you may 
be kept free from harm. For this I pray with my 
whole heart. And who knows ? perhaps you might be 
more exposed to danger if there were more people in 
the house. I know that whatever happens is by God's 
providence, and is permitted for our good ; and with 
this reflection I quiet myself. 

The new Archbishop had ordered the Abbess of 
St. Matthew's to send him a list of the names of the 
nearest relations belonging to each nun in the convent, 
in order that they might be requested to contribute to 
the relief of the sisterhood during the winter. As 
Sister Maria Celeste had obtained the Abbess's per- 
mission to warn her father beforehand, " in order that 
the thing might not come upon him unawares," it 
would appear that it was expected the Archbishop's 
request to the nuns' relatives would savor somewhat 
of command. 

" I should be much pained," she continues, " at your 
being put to inconvenience ; yet, on the other hand, I 
cannot with a good conscience prevent any help and 
relief which is in contemplation for this poor and truly 
desolate house. I would, however, suggest to you a 
reply to my lord Archbishop, which contains in it a 


well-known fact. This is, that it were a very good and 
Money proper thing if the relations of many of the 

owing to the r r ... 

nuns. nuns here were forced to disburse the sum 

of two hundred crowns which they have kept back 
from their dowry, and not the two hundred crowns only, 
but the interest of the same, which has been owing for 
many years. Amongst the number of these is Messer 
Benedetto Landucci, who is a debtor to his daughter, 
Sister Clara. If something is not done, I fear that you, 
being Messer Benedetto's surety, will have to pay that 
sum, or else it will fall upon our Vincenzio's shoulders. 
" If those who owe money could be made to pay, 
the convent would be relieved in a much better way 
than by the donations of relatives, few of whom are 
rich enough to subscribe. The intention of the supe- 
riors is good ; they help us as best they can, but the 
wants of the convent are too great. I, for my part, envy 
none in this world but the Capuchin fathers, who are 
placed beyond all the cares and anxieties which come 
upon us nuns. For we have not only to supply the con- 
vent charges, and give grain and money every year, 
but also to supply our own private necessities by the 
work of our hands ; and our gains are so small, that 
the relief they afford is but scanty. And if I were to 
tell the truth, I should say that these gains were rather 
loss than profit in the end, for we hurt our health by 
sitting up working till seven o'clock (i A. M.), and con- 
sume oil, which is so dear. Hearing from Madonna 
Piera to-day that you said we were to ask for anything 
we wanted, I will make so bold as to ask for a little 
money to pay a few small debts which make me uneasy. 
As for the rest, we have enough to eat and to spare, 
for which God be praised. 


" I hear that you have no present intention of coming 
to see us, and I do not press it, for a visit now would 
give but little satisfaction to either of us, as just at 
present we could not have an hour together in private." 

Then follows a discourse on preserved citron, and a 
reminder that Dame Piera has the list of all the boxes 
and phials she wants her father to get for the pharmacy. 
Then she winds up her long letter : " I say good night, 
it being nine o'clock of the fourth^ night of December 
(3 A. M.). When you have seen my lord Archbishop, I 
shall be glad to know the result." 

Galileo had promised his daughters a visit in the 
beginning of December, but the tramontana (the cold 
wind from the Apennines) was blowing hard, and the 
old man dared not brave it. In consequence his eldest 
daughter sends one of her little notes and some of the 
never-failing preserved citron. She also asks christmas 
for the wherewith to make a Christmas pres- f r ^ents. 
ent to Virginia and Dame Piera, and to her beloved 
friend, Sister Luisa. The presents are extremely mod- 
est. For Sister Luisa she desired stuff sufficient to 
make a door-curtain for her cell. Either leather or 
colored cloth would do, so as it answered the purpose 
of keeping out the cold wind. To this she would fain 
add a few trifles, such as bobbins, a bundle of sulphur 
matches, some wicks and tags, and laces. But on no 
account was Galileo to send out to purchase these 
things. If he had them not in the house, she would 
be content to go without rather than run the risk of 
the plague being brought back from Florence by the 
person sent to buy them. 


Quarantine. Vincenzio's Ingratitude. Galileo finds Comfort 
in his Daughter. Donations to St. Matthew. Galileo's Pru- 
dence. Further Delay. Letter to Cioli. Death of Michel- 
angelo Galilei. Galileo maintains his Brother's Family. 
Employment for Vincenzio. Favors asked for the Convent. 
Galileo left Alone. The Elixir. A Change of Residence. 
Lending Money. Sister Luisa's Gratitude. Sickness of 
the Sisters. Galileo's Liberality Begging Letters. Gali- 
leo's Removal to Arcetri. 

IN spite of tramontana and wintry weather, the 

plague continued in Florence, steadily, though slowly, 

increasing. At their wits' ends, the board of health 

at length ordered a quarantine of such strict- 

Quarantine. -11 i 

ness as to put a stop even to neighborly com- 
munication. The general panic became greater in 
consequence of this, as none knew who of their ac- 
quaintance might be dead or dying, and, as might be 
supposed, reports were rife and full of falsities. 

Galileo, mewed up between the four walls of his 
villa, scarcely felt the restriction. He had his beloved 
tower, his telescope, and his own thoughts. Often did 
his daughter remonstrate affectionately with him for his 
merciless usage of that poor servant, his body, which 
she tells him will most surely take its revenge on his 
mind, sooner or later, if he does not allow it needful 
rest. Vincenzio and his wife were still at Prato, on 
VincenzWs sucn ill terms with Galileo that, during this 
ingratitude, period of sickness, his only knowledge of 


their being in health arose from the fact of his hearing 
nothing whatever of them. The solitary old man's 
only pleasure consisted in the prattle of his infant 
grandchild and the perusal of his daughter's almost 
daily letters. Once, long before, she had told him 
that she had kept all his, and read them during such 
moments as she could snatch from her many duties. 
Now, in his turn, he looks out for her letters, and 
keeps them, discourses on preserved citron and all j 
and, amid many labors and anxieties, he finds time to 
write to her and keep her assured of his own well- 
being and the child's, and to send money and give 
medical advice, besides presents of such Lenten food 
as his daughters liked best. In one letter she says, 
after speaking of Vincenzio's behavior as being " the 
fruit of this ungrateful world," " I am quite confused 
at hearing that you keep my letters ; I fear that your 
great love for me makes you think them more perfect 
than they are. But let it be as you will ; if you are 
satisfied, that is enough for me." 

At last, Sister Maria Celeste appears convinced of 
the reality and depth of her father's affection. Her 
letters no longer read like a piteous wail of entreaty. 
She says no more of her own many demerits as an 
excuse for his waning love. It is not too much to 
suppose that in truth Galileo's affection for his daugh- 
ter did increase towards the last years of her life. 
When stung by Vincenzio's ingratitude, it must have 
been a singular relief to him to turn to one whose 
whole life seems to have been a mingled hymn of grati- 
tude and blessing. It must have soothed his Ga m eofinds 
aching heart to know that there was one be- cortf* 1 * ** 

his daugk- 

ing in the world who would never misunder- ter - 


stand his motives and actions, and whose sympathies 
were his, whether in joy or sadness. 

Chilled and repulsed by Vincenzio's ungeniality and 
sullen reserve, may it not have occurred to Galileo, as 
it does to the readers of his daughter's loving letters, 
that he had been a happier man, and that she had 
been a happier woman, if, instead of consigning her 
from her childhood to the cloister, he had kept her 
with him to be the angel of his house ? 

The panic which, with the increase of the plague, 
spread from the lower to the higher classes in Flor- 
ence, explains the fact that during the winter of 1630-1 
Donations to donations of all kinds poured in upon the 
st. Matthew. nee dy inmates of St. Matthew. On the 24th 
of January, 1631, Sister Maria Celeste writes that the 
convent has had an alms from the officers of the board 
of health to the amount of two hundred and four 
crowns. " God never fails those who trust in Him," 
she observes. " I think this was given by command 
of their Serene Highnesses, who show the greatest 
kindness to the convent. Now, for some months at 
least, our poor Mother Abbess will be free from anx- 
iety. I think she has obtained this result through her 
constant prayers, and by the supplications and peti- 
tions she has made to divers persons." 

Galileo, with that excessive wariness and prudence 
which he knew by experience to be necessary in deal- 
ing with the authorities, ecclesiastical or secular, had 
been careful to keep his patron the Grand Duke fully 
informed of the slow progress made in obtaining the 
license for the printing of the " Dialogue " in Florence. 
It would seem either that Riccardi had in the first in- 
stance signed the permission without due considera- 

1631] FURTHER DELAY. 193 

tion, or that he had changed his mind after signing it. 
For, not satisfied with the decision of the Inquisitor 
at Florence, he sent to tell Galileo that he wished to 
look at the book a third time. This caused Further 
still further negotiation and delay. With ^"y- 
rare patience the author waited, comforted by the opin- 
ion of a friendly Inquisitor on the intrinsic merit of the 
work. But weeks and months passed, and still the 
preface and index were not returned, and the printing 
was at a stand-still. Galileo, anxious and uneasy at 
the delay, at last wrote to Cioli, the Grand Duke's 
secretary, as follows : 

" As your illustrious lordship knows, I went to Rome 
for the purpose of getting permission to pub- Galileo , s let . 
lish my < Dialogues,' and to this end I put tertoCioii. 
them in the hands of the most Reverend Father the 
Master of the Sacred Palace, who committed them to 
the care of his colleague, Father Raffaello Visconti, 
that he might look at them with the mpst particular 
attention, and note if there were any doubtful matter, 
or any conceit of imagination which required correc- 
tion : which, at my own request also, he did most 
thoroughly. And as I entreated the Reverend Master 
to give the required license, and affix his name thereto, 
his Reverence signified his wish to read the whole book 
through once more. This was done, after which he 
returned me the book, with the permission signed with 
his own hand. Whereupon I, having been at Rome 
for two months, returned to Florence, intending to 
send back the book (as soon as I had written the in- 
dex, the dedication, and a few other necessary things) 
to the most illustrious and eminent Prince Cesi, head 
of the Lyncean Academy, who had always superin- 


tended the printing of my other works. But, owing to 
the death of this Prince and the interruption of com- 
munication, I was hindered from printing my work at 
Rome, and decided on having it done here. I had 
found and arranged matters with an able printer and 
publisher, and procured the permission of the Rev- 
erend Vicar and of the Inquisitor, 1 and also of the 
Illustrious Signore Niccolb Antella. I informed the 
Reverend Master of the Palace of all that had taken 
place, and of the impediments in my way touching the 
printing of my book at Rome. Whereupon he sent to 
tell me through my lord Ambassador (Niccolini), that 
he wished to have another look at the book, and that 
I was to send him a copy. On this, I came to you, as 
you know, to ask whether it were possible to send such 
a large volume to Rome with security. And you an- 
swered, Certainly not ; and that letters were hardly 
safe. On this I wrote again, declaring the impedi- 
ment, and offering to send the preface and the end of 
the book, to which the Superiors might add if they 
saw fit, or take away, or, if it so pleased them, add 
notes of explanation. For I myself do not refuse to 
call these thoughts of mine chimeras, dreams, paral- 
ogisms, and vain imaginations : submitting the whole 
to the absolute wisdom of my Superiors. As to the 
revision of the book, I suggested it might be done 
here by some person named by the Reverend Father. 
He was content that it should be so, therefore I sent 
the preface and the end, which the Master gave on 
this occasion to a fresh person to revise, namely, 
Father Jacinto Stefani, Counselor of the Inquisition, 
who (also by me requested) revised the whole work 
1 Pietro Niccolini and Clemente Egidi- 

1631] LETTER TO CIOLI. 195 

with the greatest care, observing even the minutest 
points, which neither to him nor to my most malignant 
adversary could give the slightest umbrage. Indeed, 
this Reverend Father declared that the reading of my 
work had drawn tears from him more than once, when 
he considered with what humility and reverent sub- 
mission I submitted myself to the authority of the 
Superiors ; and he declares, as do all those who have 
read the book, that I ought to be entreated to publish 
it, instead of being hindered in so many ways; of 
which I need not here adduce examples. Weeks and 
months ago I heard from Father Benedetto Castelli, 
that he had often met the Reverend Master, who had 
given him to understand that he was going to send 
back the preface and the end, arranged to his entire 
satisfaction. But this has not been the case, and I 
hear no word of its being sent back : the book has 
been thrown aside into some corner, and my life is 
wasting away, and I am in continual trouble. I went 
to Florence yesterday at my Serene Master's com- 
mand, to see the designs for the facade of the cathe- 
dral, and also wishing to have recourse to his kindness, 
so that, taking counsel with your Excellency, Letterto 
some means might be found for making the Cioli - 
Reverend Master explain himself ; and that, if it were 
his pleasure, the Ambassador be desired to speak 
to the Master, and signify to him his Highness's 
desire for a termination of this business, and to let 
him know what sort of man his Highness had for his 
servant. But so exceedingly troubled was I, that I 
could neither speak to his Highness about this busi- 
ness nor look at the designs. Just now a messenger 
from Court came to know how I was ; and truly I am 


in such a state, that I should not have risen from my 
bed had I not wished so particularly to tell your lord- 
ship of this business, and to beg you to do for me that 
which I was unable to do yesterday ; and also to take 
the matter into your own hands, and act as you shall 
think best : in order that I may, while life yet remains, 
see what result I may expect from all my lengthy and 
heavy labors. I send this by the hand of the Court 
messenger, and shall await your decision through Sig- 
nor Geri Bocchineri (the Grand Duke's private secre- 
tary). And since his Highness is kindly anxious to 
know the state of my health, I beg you to tell him that 
I should be pretty well in body, if I were not so 
afflicted in mind." 1 

At the commencement of the year (1631) Galileo's 
anxieties had been augmented by the death of his 
brother Michelangelo, leaving his family totally de- 
pendent on him for support. With the view of light- 
ening his burden in some slight degree, he sounded 
his daughter on the feasibility of placing Virginia, the 
Galileo's de- young niece who was then living in his house, 
S hisnie P cf ce in the convent under her rule and protection. 
*n7erike Thus Sister Maria Celeste would in her turn 
c ur e Marla ^ ave t> ecome a mistress, and would have had 
a " child " to take care of her in her old age. 
It may at first sight appear strange that Galileo should 
have desired to place his niece in a convent where the 
scarcity of means was such that the inmates were often 
only kept from starvation by a timely alms. But it 
must be remembered that poverty was the normal con- 
dition of all convents belonging to the Order of St. 
Francis ; and that the poor convents were free from 
1 Galileo to Cioli, March 7, 1631. 


the reproach of sloth, and misrule worse than sloth, 
which, with scarcely an exception, was justly applica- 
ble to the wealthier Orders. 

Doubtless Galileo felt that at St. Matthew's his niece 
would find an honorable asylum. He knew that at his 
own death his stipend would cease, and Government 
was scarcely to be expected to pension his relations. 
Vincenzio had not yet begun to help himself; it was 
not to be supposed that he would bear the burden of 
maintaining a number of younger cousins. 

But, eager as she always was to satisfy her father's 
wishes, Sister Maria Celeste was unable to comply in 
this particular instance. Such was the poverty at St. 
Matthew, that the Superiors had forbidden the recep- 
tion of any new members into the community, whether 
as novices or as serving sisters. So strict was the 
commandment, that Sister Maria Celeste declared she 
would not venture to ask for an exception to be made 
in her favor, though the reigning Abbess was her very 
good friend. Had it been possible, she would have 
liked to have Virginia, whom she loved because she 
had helped to amuse and console her father, so cruelly 
forsaken by Vincenzio and his wife. She suggests 
timidly, that perhaps if Vincenzio had some- Employ- 
thing to do, he and Sestilia would cease to Vincwti*. 
annoy her father so constantly. Upon Galileo seems 
naturally to fall the task of finding this something ; 
Sister Maria Celeste does not appear for a moment to 
imagine that Vincenzio is bound to search for employ- 
ment himself as well. She says, " I do not doubt but 
that peace and quietness will follow, if you would but 
find him some employment. He always talks as if he 
were very anxious to maintain himself." In the same 


letter she says, " I am much grieved to hear of your 
being so out of health. I would that I were able to 
take all your pain upon myself; but since that cannot 
be, I do my best by praying for you continually. May 
the Lord hear and answer me ! " 

Writing on the i2th of March, in answer to a letter 
of Galileo's which had accompanied a basket of pro- 
visions, she again laments her inability to take Vir- 
ginia, though she would do anything to give her father 
satisfaction. Galileo had probably been making fresh 
complaints of Vincenzio, for she reminds him that it 
will be good for him in one respect that Vincenzio 
should consider the neighborhood to be infected, for 
that now people will not even take money from per- 
sons suspected of plague taint ; and since Vincenzio 
is so timorous, he will probably leave off asking for 

The new Archbishop being well-disposed towards 
Galileo, he, with that readiness to help which was such 
a distinguishing feature in his character, asked the Ab- 
bess, through his daughter, whether there were any 
favor which his interest at the archiepiscopal palace 
could procure them. Accompanying this letter was a 
Lenten dish, of what nature is not specified, which 
he had prepared for Sister Maria Celeste with his own 

It is not clear what the favor was which the Mother 
Abbess, taking counsel with Sister Maria Celeste, 
thought fit to ask. But from the context of one of her 
letters it would appear that it had to do with the visits 
of the fathers and brothers of the nuns. Her words 
are : " Mother Abbess says that doubtless it would 
give great pleasure to all the nuns, if my Lord Arch- 


bishop would grant this favor to the brothers as well 
as to the fathers, but she thinks it would be best not 
to ask it till after Easter. Meanwhile your lordship 
can talk to her about it when you come to see us. 
You will find her a very discreet and prudent person, 
but extremely timid." 

In the same letter she says : " I send back the 
collars ; they are so worn out that it was impossible to 
get them up as exquisitely as I wished. If you want 
anything else, please remember that I have no other 
pleasure in this world than to be employed in your 
service ; I think that you too have none greater than 
to please me and give me everything I ask for." 
Shortly after this, Virginia, for whom she says there is 
a little present in the bottom of the basket, ceased to 
be a member of her father's household. 1 

In a letter dated the nth of April, she says, "I 
think the few cakes I send will be enough, as GaU i eo &# 
you have no one with whom to share them, alone - 
except perhaps little Galileo." 

This is the last time the grandchild is mentioned. It 
is probable that his parents took him back to Prato at 
Easter. We learn from a note containing a few lines 
only, written on the 226. of April, that Vincenzio had 
sent his sisters an Easter present of two doz- 
en eggs and half a lamb \ and that Galileo, 
not being well enough to go himself as far as the con- 
vent, had sent his Easter present, consisting of four 
piastres, by the hand of Piera. 

Galileo getting no better, but rather worse, his daugh- 

1 From a letter of Galileo to Benedetto Guerrini, we learn that 
the Grand Duke was paying for the education of a niece per- 
haps Virginia at the Convent of S. Giorgio, in 1639. 


ter looks through all her recipes, and at last finds one 

which has been much vaunted for its strengthening 

powers by the physicians. She makes him a small 

quantity of the elixir, feeling sure that even 

The elixir. ., . , 3 , ' o , 

if it does no good, it can do no harm. She 
tells him that the ingredients are sugar, pomegranate 
wine, and vinegar ; and he is to take two or three spoon- 
fuls every morning in a small quantity of cinnamon- 
water. This elixir, she thinks, will surely remedy his 
low spirits and want of appetite. 

Feeling age and infirmity creeping surely over him, 
Galileo con- Galileo about this time began seriously to 
t ch^nge e of a contemplate a change of residence from Bel- 
residence. losguardo to the neighborhood of the con- 
vent, where he would be able to enjoy his daughter's 
society more frequently. Sister Maria Celeste's letters 
show how instantly she was on the alert to hear of a 
house which should combine vicinity to the convent 
with good situation and a rent more suitable to her 
father's much-drained purse than that of the villa at 
Bellosguardo, for which he paid a hundred crowns 

" As far as I have been able to learn, the priest of 
Monteripaldi has no jurisdiction over Signora Dianora 
Landi's villa, except over one field. But I understand 
that the endowment of one of the chapels of the 
Church of Santa Maria del Fiore 1 is secured on the 
house, and it is on this account that the said Signora 
Dianora is now having a lawsuit brought against her. 
From the bearer of my letter, a most sagacious woman, 
who knows everybody in Florence, you may be able to 
find out by whom this suit has been instituted, and 
1 The Cathedral Church of Florence. 


from him you will get some information respecting the 
business. 1 

" I have also heard that Mannelli's place is not yet 
let on lease, but they are willing to let. This place of 
Mannelli's is very nice and large, and they say the air 
up there is the best in all the country. I should think 
you would be allowed to go over it to see whether it 
would be likely to answer our wishes." 

The next letter contains a request for a loan of 
twenty-four crowns, not for herself, but for Gaiueoknds 
her friend Sister Luisa, who is in need of ***y- 
money, and has none coming in till the end of July. 
" If I were not certain," Sister Maria Celeste writes, 
" that she were a person who would rather repay be- 
fore than after the time she promised, and also that 
she is certain of getting her own money in July, I 
would not ask you to become a lender, for fear of 
such a thing happening again as did happen the last 
time you lent money ; on which occasion you were 
put to much inconvenience, and I was greatly dis- 

The usual present which accompanied this letter 
was varied this time ; instead of preserved citron and 
baked quinces, it consisted of aloes and rhubarb from 
the convent pharmacy. 

The idea of hiring Mannelli's house was not carried 
out, possibly from the rent not being within Galileo's 
means. House-hunting in the neighborhood of Flor- 
ence was not easy work, such villas as then existed 
being mostly the residences of their well-to-do proprie- 
tors. Vincenzio, having got over his sulky fit, was 
again in communication with his father, and helped in 
1 Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, May 18, 1631. 


the search for a house. " Vincenzio will tell you all 
about this house of Perini's which is for sale. Pray 
do not let this opportunity escape, for Heaven knows 
when we shall meet with another, as in this neighbor- 
hood no one ever thinks of selling, except under 
pressure of circumstances. If you could make up 
your mind to come and look at this house, you might 
pay us a visit at the same time." In this letter, poor 
melancholy Sister Arcangela is mentioned as naving 
been " reduced at last to take to her bed." 

Sister Luisa's probity and delicacy in money mat- 
ters had not been overrated by her friend. Receiving 
sister^ her own money earlier than she expected, 
promptness she hastened to pay Galileo the twenty four 
t her a lebts. crowns he had advanced, with a message 
transmitted through Sister Maria Celeste, expressive 
of the deepest gratitude for his kindness in making 
the loan. And her gratitude was no empty phrase j 
for, as Sister Maria Celeste wrote, her friend's kind- 
ness, which was great before, was redoubled now : 
she could not be kinder had she been her mother. 
The expression, " Con maniera tale che piu non potria 
fare se mi fosse madre," is the only one of the kind 
throughout Sister Maria Celeste's correspondence. 
We do not know that Marina Bartoluzzi died before 
1623 ; it is probable indeed that she was alive, else 
there would have been some request, throughout so 
long a correspondence, for money to pay for masses 
for her soul. But dead or alive, the sisters were not 
ill-health of tne I GSS motherless. Constantly ailing, first 
the sisters. On6j t h en the other, often both together, 
these poor young women stood peculiarly in need of 
a motherly tenderness beyond that of the maestra, the 


" mother " assigned them by the rule of St. Francis. 
At the time when Sister Luisa sent back the money 
lent her by Galileo, Sister Arcangela was so ill that 
her recovery was despaired of. Various expensive 
remedies were ordered her, and Sister Maria Ce- 
leste's pockets being empty, as usual, she was forced 
to beg assistance from Galileo. From an allusion to 
her own health in this letter, we see that summer was 
no more propitious to her than winter. 

In August another opportunity occurred for the hire 
of a house near St. Matthew's. Sister Maria Celeste 
writes eagerly to her father on the I2th : 

" I am so anxious to have you in the neighborhood, 
that I am constantly inquiring whether there is any 
place near here to be let. I have just heard of a villa 
belonging to Signor Esau Martellini, which is situated 
on the Piano de' Giullari, and bounds "our place. I 
write to tell you, that you may find out whether it is 
to your liking. I should be glad indeed if it were, as 
then I should not be obliged to remain so long with- 
out news of you, as is the case at present. Truly I 
find it hard to bear j but counting this, along with a 
few other grievances, as taking the place of the mor- 
tifications I neglect through carelessness, I go on 
bearing it as well as I can, as it pleases God to give 
it me. But you, doubtless, find no lack of worries 
and perplexities of quite another kind, so I will keep 
silence as regards my own. 

" Sister Arcangela, about whom I was so anxious, 
is somewhat better, though extremely weak. She has 
a fancy for salt fish, so pray send some for the next 
fast-days. Take care of yourself during these great 
heats, and do pray write me just one line. Our 


friends greet you affectionately, and I pray the Lord 
to give you his heavenly grace." 

Shortly after this, Dame Piera, going to the convent 
with a basketful of provisions besides the salt fish, 
rejoiced Sister Maria Celeste's heart by telling her 
that there was every prospect of her father having 
Villa Martellini. 

We cannot help reflecting, as we peruse these let- 
ters, how much better it would have been for Galileo's 
oft-drained purse had he kept his two daughters at 
home. This good provision, of which Sister Maria 
Celeste makes grateful acknowledgment, was to be 
divided among her friends that same evening. For 
the rule, though it allowed a nun to receive, forbade 
the keeping of any gift to herself. " Only of the 
curds," says she, in her little note, " I do not promise 
to give to very many." We are not told whether the 
relatives of other nuns were as liberal as Galileo. It 
is certain that there is no mention of presents received 
by Sister Maria Celeste from her companions, though 
she distinctly states the obligation she is under of 
dividing gifts fairly among the different members of 
the community. It is equally certain that she shrank 
from asking a favor from any of the sisterhood, with 
the exception of her " most faithful Sister Luisa." 

The letter dated August the 3oth is one of the 
sisterMdria frequent begging letters, most touching of 
Begging a ^ P erna P s when we notice the difference 
letters. o f tone, no longer abject and timorous, but 

secure and serene in the full consciousness of pos- 
sessing the largest share of her father's love. 

" If the sign and measure of the love one bears a 
person," she writes, " is the confidence one feels in 


him, your lordship should be in no doubt as to my lov- 
ing you with all my heart, as in truth I do. For indeed 
such confidence and security have I in you that some- 
times I fear that I overstep the bounds of filial modesty 
and reverence, especially as I know you to be bur- 
dened with many expenses and anxieties at present. 
Nevertheless, being certain that you remember my 
necessities quite as much as those of any other person 
whatever, and indeed before your own, I am embold- 
ened to pray you to be so kind as to lighten my mind 
of its present disquietude, because of a debt of five 
crowns which I have been forced to 'incur in conse- 
quence of Sister Arcangela's illness. On her account 
I have been obliged, during the last four months, to 
incur expenses little in accordance with the poverty of 
our condition. And now, finding myself in extreme 
necessity of satisfying my creditor, I recommend my- 
self to him who both can and will help me. 

" I want one flask of your white wine to make steel 
wine for Sister Arcangela ; I believe, however, that the 
faith she has in the medicine will do more good than 
the medicine itself. I have so little time that I can 
add no more than that I hope these six large cakes 
may please you." 

Here the correspondence breaks off. In the autumn 
of the same year (1631) Galileo took up his Galileo's 
abode at Villa Martellini, on the slope of the r lt?i. 
Piano de' Giullari, over against the convent. There he 
was able to have almost daily intercourse with his 
daughters, and Sister Maria Celeste no longer found 
difficulty in procuring a messenger to send, if necessary, 
with affectionate inquiries after her father's health, and 
humble presents from still-room and pharmacy. 


Appearance of the " Dialogue." Title. Imprimatur. Foresight 
of Paolo Aproino. Devotion of Galileo's Pupils. Popu- 
larity of the " Dialogue." Order for its Sequestration. Dis- 
pleasure of the Grand Duke. Cioli's Dispatch. The Pope's 
Anger. Arrogant Message to the Grand Duke. Opinion 
of Galileo's Friends. Warnings from Friends at Rome. 
Fra Tommaso Campanella. The Congregation. Trivial 
Objections Niccolini's Opinion. Galileo cited to appear 
before the Inquisition. Journey to Rome. Reception by 
the Ambassador. Visits to Members of the Congregation. 
Orders from the Holy Office. The Pope's Temper. Re- 
ports in Florence. 

GALILEO'S great work, the " Dialogue," appeared in 

aarance January, 1632. In the various hindrances 
which had met its author at every step ere the 

final authorization of the book was granted, there had 
been a slight foretaste of the persecution which was 
to be his lot for the remainder of his days. 

The first edition contained two frontispieces engraved 
on copper. In that on the left hand, the words " Dia- 
logo di Galileo Galilei al Serenissimo Ferdinando II. 
Gran Duca di Toscana " are placed on the field of a 
pavilion surmounted by a ducal crown and surrounded 
by the Palle, the armorial bearings of the house of 
Medici. Below, on the shore of a sea dotted with 
ships, stand three personages disputing, Ptolemy, 
Copernicus, and Ser Simplicio, each with his name 
written on a fold of his mantle. On the right-hand 

1632.] THE "DIALOGUE." 207 

page the title of the book is printed in full, as fol- 
lows : 1 

" Dialogue by Galileo Galilei, Mathematician Ex- 
traordinary of the University of Pisa, and 
Principal Mathematician and Philosopher of 
the Most Serene Grand Duke of Tuscany, in 
which, in a conference lasting four days, are discussed 
the two principal systems of the world, proposing inde- 
terminately the philosophical arguments on each side." 2 

According to custom, the first page was devoted to 
the Imprimatur, as follows : 

"Imprimatur si vidibitur Rev. P. Magistro Sacri 
Palatii Apostolici : A. Episcopus Bellicas- Im p rima . 
tensis Vices gerens." tur - 

11 Imprimatur : Fr. Nicolaus Ricardus Sacri Apos- 
tolici Palatii Magister." 

" Imprimatur Florentia3, ordinibus consuetis servatis : 
Petrus Nicolinus Vic. Gen. Florentiae." 

"Imprimatur: Die n Septembris, 1630. Fr. 
Clemens Egidius, Inquisitor generalis Florentiae." 

" Stampisi, a di 12 Settembre, 1630. Nicol6 dell' 

1 " II Padre Maestro (Riccardi) salutes you, and says that he 
is pleased with the work (the Dialogue], and he will speak to the 
Pope to-morrow about the title." Letter of Father Raffaelo 
Visconti (Riccardi 's colleague] to Galileo, June 1 6, 1630. 

2 The copy of this work preserved in the library of the Semi- 
nary at Padua, contains marginal notes in Galileo's handwriting 
concerning the earth's motion, which is treated as an absolute 
truth, in spite of the decrees of 1616 and 1633. When the third 
or Paduan edition was printed, about a century after the first 
appearance of the work, the editors, from prudential motives, 
either omitted or altered the sense of these notes, so as to reduce 
Galileo's certainty to hypothesis. 


The preface was in substance 1 the work of Riccardi 
and the Pope, by whom it was imposed on Galileo. 
Had he not accepted it, he would never have obtained 
the Imprimatur. 

Of all Galileo's friends and followers, only one was 
Foresight of far-sighted enough to see how fraught with 
Aproino. evil was this great work to their master. 
Blinded by admiration, they had, with one solitary 
exception, urged him on, forgetful of possible conse- 
quences. 2 This exception was Paolo Aproino. 

Having read a copy of the " Dialogue," which Gal- 
ileo had sent in manuscript to his friend Micanzio, at 
Venice, he imparted his opinion to the latter, begging 
him to write and advise Galileo to pause ere he printed 
a book which contained such startling doctrine. Mi- 
canzio did not refuse, but nevertheless desired Apro- 
ino to write himself, and explain his objections to 
Galileo. The letter came too late, as the " Dialogue " 
was actually printed before it reached Galileo. 3 

We may, however, assert with safety that, even had 
the work not been so far advanced, Aproino 's letter 

1 " Conformably to the order of our Lord (Pope) respecting 
Signer Galileo's book, besides what I remarked to your Rever- 
ence concerning the body of the work (May 24), I send you the 
preface, with liberty to the author to alter or embellish it as to 
the words, so as the substance is preserved." Riccardi to the 
Inquisitor of Florence, July 19, 1631- 

2 Niccolo Aggiunti, writing in April, 1628, in reference to an 
illness which had caused Galileo to neglect the Dialogue, then 
about half finished, declares that the completion of the work was 
a duty Galileo owed to the great God who had given him a 
genius hitherto unknown in the history of mankind. He entreats 
him also to think of posterity, affirming that all he had done yet 
was but a slight sample of what he could do. 

8 Paolo Aproino to Galileo, March 13, 1632. 


would not have made Galileo alter his purpose, while 
at the same time the probability is that by following 
his disciple's advice he would have escaped the cen- 
sure of the Holy Office. Aproino's plan A p roin ^ s 
was, for Galileo to send copies of his work * lan - 
in manuscript to the public libraries in the capitals of 
Europe ; with permission for copies to be taken at the 
demand of any person who might wish to possess the 
work. This plan, Aproino thought, would prevent the 
dissemination of the doctrine among the ignorant and 
ill-disposed, who, instead of taking advantage of Gal- 
ileo's labors, would make them serve to ruin him. As 
for his followers, none of them would grudge the ex- 
pense of a manuscript copy of such a precious work. 
Half hoping that his old master would fall in with this 
plan, Aproino began himself to make a copy, but de- 
sisted, on being reminded by Micanzio that he ought 
to obtain the author's permission. This letter is 
another instance of the undying attachment which 
Galileo's pupils felt for their great teacher. Aproino 
refers to the time he spent at Padua when studying 
mathematics under Galileo in terms of enthusiasm, 1 
and thanks God daily " that he had for his master the 
greatest man the earth had ever seen." 

Copies of the " Dialogue " were sent by Galileo to 
his friends and disciples throughout Italy. There was 
some delay in the presentation of the book to the va- 
rious dignitaries in Rome, in consequence, as he says 
in a letter to Castelli, of the difficulty of transmission, 
owing to the fresh sanitary restrictions in force at the 
Roman frontier. Castelli and the Jesuit fathers had al- 
ready received their copies. The great personages must 
1 "... Quel beato tempo di Padova ! " 


wait till the plague should be abated; "for," says 
Galileo, " having gone to the expense of having the 
books bound and gilt, I shall wait till I can send 
them bound." 1 Probably there was greater fear of 
Favorable infection from leather binding than from the 
r the e ^D n i/ common paper wrapper. Thus the " Dia- 
logue." i g U e " entered the precints of the Papal 
Court amid the applause of all Italy. 2 

Suddenly, in the beginning of August, in conse- 
Ordcrforits quence of a report sent in to the Inquisition 
s fSn. s ' by the Jesuit Inchofer, one of the Consultori, 
came a stringent order from the Master of the Sacred 
Palace to sequestrate every copy in the bookseller's 
shops, not only in the States of the Church, but 
throughout Italy. Landino, Galileo's publisher, re- 
ceived an injunction to suspend the publication of the 
book, and to forward to Rome all copies he might 
have in his possession. To this Landino answered 
that he had not a single copy left ; a proof, if any were 
needed, of the popularity of the " Dialogue," for it 
would have been useless and unwise to prevaricate 
when the- Inquisitor of Florence could at any hour of 
the day or night make a descent on the premises, and 
satisfy himself of the real state of things. 

Surprised and displeased, the Grand Duke ordered 
Displeasure Francesco Niccolini, his ambassador at 
jLfe r( Rome, to demand an explanation of the 

1 Galileo to Benedetto Castelli, May 17, 1632. 

2 The following may serve as a sample of the reception the 
Dialogue met with : " I had scarcely had time to devour your 
book before it was taken from me and lent from one to the other. 
And to-day no sooner do I get it back by main force than I am 
obliged to send it to the Commissary Antonini, at Verona, one 
of our cleverest men, and one who admires you above all the 
literati of the age." Micanzio to Galileo, July 3, 1632. 

1632.] CIOLPS DISPATCH. 211 

Pope's sudden caprice. This demand was embodied 
in the dispatch written by Andrea Cioli, the Grand 
Duke's Secretary of State, to the Tuscan Ambassador, 
on the 24th of August, 1632. It is as follows : 

" I have orders to signify to your Excellency his 
Highness's exceeding astonishment that a cioift 
book, placed by the author himself in the <** s * atc *- 
hands of the supreme authority in Rome, read and 
read again there most attentively, and in which every- 
thing, not only with the consent but at the request of 
the author, was amended, altered, added, or removed 
at the will of his Superiors, which was here again sub- 
jected to examination, agreeably to orders -from Rome, 
and which finally was licensed both here and there, 
and here printed and published, should now become 
an object of suspicion at the end of two years, and the 
author and printer be prohibited from publishing any 

Cioli went on to say, that, considering the manner 
in which Galileo had handled his subject, the Grand 
Duke strongly suspected that this suspension of the 
book was not so much caused by zeal for purity of 
doctrine, as by dislike to the person of the author. 
He therefore desired that the reasons of the suspen- 
sion be set forth clearly in writing, and forwarded to 
Galileo, who felt strong in the consciousness of his 
own innocence, and had declared this to be only a 
fresh instance of his enemies' malignity. He had, 
moreover, offered to leave Tuscany and forfeit the 
Grand Duke's favor, if the charge of holding heretical 
doctrine could be fairly proved against him. 

Niccolini's astonishment at the Pope's sudden 
change of sentiments was such that " he thought the 


world must be going to fall to pieces." At the men- 
tion of Galileo's name, the Pope interrupted him an- 
The Pope's g r ily> saying that Galileo had dared discuss 
matters on which it was his duty to have 
kept silence. Niccolini reminded his Holiness that the 
book had only been published after obtaining the con- 
sent of the necessary authorities in Rome and Flor- 
ence. The Pope answered hotly, that Galileo and 
Ciampoli had both deceived him ; that Ciampoli had 
had the audacity to assure him that Galileo was in- 
clined to do everything as he had commanded ; l 
which he had believed, not having himself seen the 
manuscript- Then he complained of Ciampoli again, 
and of the Master (Riccardi), though, as for the latter, 
he believed that he, too, had been deceived ; for that 
Galileo, with his art of persuasion, had got him to 
write the permission, and that the license to print at 
Florence had been obtained in the same artful man- 
ner, for that the Master had nothing to do with licens- 
ing what was printed beyond Rome ; and moreover, 
the form given to the Inquisitor had not been ob- 
served, but had been altered in the printing. Nicco- 
lini begged that Galileo might at least know clearly 
of what he was accused. The Pope answered that it 
was not the custom of the Holy Office to give its rea- 
sons to those who fell under its censure j that Galileo 
knew well enough in what way he had transgressed, 
for that they had spoken on the subject (the Coperni- 
can theory), and he had himself pointed out to Galileo 

1 Concerning the argument which Urban himself believed to 
be unanswerable, and which he desired should conclude the 
fourth (and last) Dialogue, which it did, Galileo having placed it 
in the mouth of Simplicio the Peripatetic. At this period Urban 
certainly had not read the book. 

1632.] THE POPE'S MESSAGE. 213 

the difficulties he would have to avoid. His Holiness 
further desired Niccolini to tell the Grand The p off s 


Duke that in a matter such as this, he ought, message to 
as a Christian prince, to aid, instead of hin- Duke. 
dering him, to bring the offender to punishment ; and 
that he had best not meddle in this business as he 
had in Alidosi's, 1 because he would not come out of it 
with honor. He had formed a Congregation of theo- 
logians and other learned persons, all grave and saintly 
men, who would weigh every word in the book ; for 
it contained the most perverse matter that could come 
into a reader's hands. The Pope also gave it to be 
understood that he had acted with extraordinary kind- 
ness to Galileo in not sending his book at once to the 
Inquisition, and that Galileo ill-deserved this leniency, 
for that he had dared to deceive him. " I found the 
Pope greatly incensed, and indeed full of ill-will to 
our poor Signer Galilei," says Niccolini ; " so your 
lordship may think in what a state of mind I returned 
home yesterday morning" (September 5, 1632). 

Meanwhile, Galileo's followers, Micanzio among the 
number, scrupled not to stigmatize these "learned, 
grave, and saintly men," in whose judgment Pope 
Urban placed such confidence, as a set of " unnatural, 
godless hypocrites." They bade him be of opinion of 
good cheer, reminding him that the world followers. 
was not restricted to a single corner, and that this 
persecution was one of the surest means of handing 
the " Dialogue " down to posterity. " But what a 
wretched set this must be," Micanzio exclaims, "to 
whom every good thing, and all that is founded in 
nature, necessarily appears hostile and odious ! " 

1 A Florentine nobleman, whose estate Urban had wished to 
confiscate for heresy. 


As soon as the matter was put into the hands of a 
Congregation, great secrecy was affected ; 
but Galileo was not without friends at Rome, 
who kept him informed of all the on dit. Among 
these was Magalotti, whose letter to Mario Guiducci is 
worth reading, if only to show what miserable trifles 
had their share in causing the condemnation of Gali- 
leo's work. 

" On Monday morning," he writes, 1 " I was in the 
Church of S. Giovanni, when the most reverend 
Father (Riccardi), having heard that I was there, came 
to seek me. He signified to me that it would be 
agreeable to him were I to give up the whole of the 
copies of Signor Galileo's book of ' Dialogues ' which 
I had brought from Florence, promising to return them 
in ten days at the farthest. I answered that I regret- 
ted infinitely not being able to comply with his wish, 
for of the six copies which I had brought, five were for 
presentation, and his Reverence knew that they had 
already been presented ; that is to say, one to his 
Eminence Cardinal Barberino, one to himself, one to 
the Ambassador of Tuscany : and the other three, one 
to Monsignor Serristori, a member of the Congrega- 
tion of the Holy Office ; one to Father Leon Santi, a 
Jesuit ; and lastly, one for myself. I told him that it 
was impossible to ask to have back again those copies 
from the persons to whom they had been presented ; 
and as for my copy, it was in the hands of Signor 
Girolamo Reti, the Prefect's Chamberlain, and I was 
not sure but what his Excellency himself was reading 
it. He must know that in this particular it was im- 
possible for me to satisfy him. At the very utmost I 
1 Magalotti to Mario Guiducci, August 7, 1632. 


could only have given him my own and Monsignor 
Serristori's copy. He appeared sensible of the diffi- 
culty, but assured me that it was only for the sake of 
the book and its author that he had wished to have 
the said copies. Then I took occasion to ask why 
such diligent perquisition should be made to have 
the books, since I was sure that if the author were 
written to, and given to understand the feeling of 
the Superiors, he would have divined that it was a 
case for obedience ; and that having re- 

ceived the permission of our Lord's Holi- 

ness and of the Sacred Congregation to publish the 
work, as any one might see by the Imprimatur in 
the beginning of it, it was not to be believed that he 
would fail to give every possible satisfaction. I also 
hinted that he had already been written to on the sub- 
ject. To this he answered in the affirmative, but 
without any specification. This, as you know well, 
was because the dealing of the Holy Office cannot be 
revealed, even the very smallest particle, under pain 
of the severest censures. He just added that what 
had been written and ordered was in a spirit of kind- 
ness and leniency, and with no object but the glory of 
God and the tranquillity of Holy Church ; and that 
no damage should accrue to the reputation of the au- 
thor, whom he looked upon as one of his best friends. 
" Then he proceeded to disclose another reason for 
wishing to have these copies of the 'Dialogue.' I 
should be ashamed to repeat it to you, for the sake of 
his reputation and for the inventor's, only that I know I 
can speak to you in confidence. It is this. Trivial ot>- 
Under the seal of secrecy he told me that J eciions - 
great offense had been taken at the emblem which was 


on the frontispiece, if I recollect aright (I say this be- 
cause I paid no great attention to the frontispiece, and 
have not the book by me just now). This emblem, 
unless I am mistaken, consists of three dolphins hold- 
ing each other's tails in their mouths, with I know not 
what motto. On hearing this I burst out laughing, 
and showed him plainly how astonished I was ; and 
said I thought I could assure him that Signor Galileo 
was not the man to hide great mysteries under such 
puerilities, and that he had said what he meant clearly 
enough. I declared that I believed I could affirm 
that the emblem was the printer's own. On hearing 
this he appeared greatly relieved, and told me that if 
I indeed could assure him that such was the case (now 
see what trifles rule our actions in this world) the result 
would be most happy for the author. I thought I had 
by me a small book written by the Portuguese doctor, 
about a preventive for the plague, which would con- 
vince him of the truth of what I was saying. He said 
my word as a gentleman was quite enough. But I 
answered that in case this book had not the emblem 
on its title-page (which indeed it has not, though it is 
printed by Landino), I would send to Florence for 
what would convince him clearly enough, and he was 
extremely glad to accept my offer. 

" So the matter stands. Other motive for censure 
I do not think there is, except that already mentioned 
by the Master of the Sacred Palace ; namely, that the 
book has not been printed precisely according to the 
original manuscript, and that, among other things, two 
or three arguments have been omitted at the end, 
which were invented by our Lord Pope himself, and 
with which he says he convinced Signor Galileo of the 


falsity of the Copernican theory. The book having 
fallen into his Holiness's hands, and these arguments 
having been found wanting, it was necessary to remedy 
the oversight. This is the pretext ; but the real fact 
is that the Jesuit fathers are working most valiantly in 
an underhand way to get the work prohibited. The 
reverend Father's own words to me were : R i CC a r d? s 
'The Jesuits will persecute him most bitterly.' P inion - 
This good Father, being mixed up in the matter him- 
self, fears every stumbling-block, and wishes naturally 
to avoid bringing trouble on himself for having given 
the license. Besides which, we cannot deny that our 
Lord's Holiness holds an opinion directly contrary to 
this (of Galileo's). 

" Now, if it is true that the original manuscript was 
altered, I know not what to say ; but if not, it will be 
easy to convince the authorities, and once convinced, 
they can go no further, I should think. . . . 

" But if some omission has been made through inad- 
vertence, particularly the omissions I have mentioned, 
I would advise that the utmost readiness be shown to 
add, take away, or change, so as to save appearances. 
Meanwhile do not fail to send me as soon as possible 
some publication of Landino's, were it but an almanac, 
that I may be able to show it to the reverend Father, 
and if possible get me one which was published before 
the publication of the " Dialogue." If you cannot do 
this, let me have an affidavit signed by some gentle- 
men of note ; perhaps it would be well to apply for 
this to the President of the Academy, Signer Tommaso 

Magalotti did not finish his letter without impress- 
ing upon Guiducci the necessity of keeping his name 


a profound secret. He wished to serve Galileo, but 
he did not wish to incur the displeasure of the Bar- 
berini, with whom he was closely connected. Castelli, 
too, though anxious and eager to serve his old friend, 
felt strongly the necessity of walking circumspectly in 
the mi(}st of so many Jesuitical nets and pitfalls. 
When at length the Jesuits had succeeded in instilling 
into the Pope's mind that Galileo had meant to hold 
him up to ridicule in the character of Simplicio, it was 
The Papers felt by every one of Galileo's followers that 
oZ?d P fy~the no circumspection, no dexterity, could save 
Jesuits. their master from the Pope's wrath. To 
their honor be it said, that when that time came, not 
one denied his master. 

Fra Tommaso Campanella, who for years had been 
an ardent admirer of Galileo, wrote to him in Septem- 
ber, 1632, as follows : 

" I learn with the greatest annoyance that a Con- 
Letterof gregation of angry theologians is being 
f rm ed for the purpose of condemning your 
Dialogue," no single member of which has 
any knowledge of mathematics or familiarity with ab- 
struse speculations. I would advise you to procure a 
request from the Grand Duke, that, among the Domin- 
icans, and Jesuits, and Theatines, and secular priests 
who are in this Congregation, they should admit also 
Castelli and myself." 

The required letter was procured, and forwarded to 
Niccolini for presentation. Niccolini's opinion, how- 
ever, was that the request would be worse than useless, 
Campanella having already written a work of similar 
tendency to Galileo's, 1 which had been prohibited, and 
1 The work in question was an Apology for Galileo. It was 

1632.] THE POPE'S TEMPER. 2ig 

Castelli being absent at Castel Gandolfo. 1 Both 
Galileo and the Grand Duke had the greatest confi- 
dence in the Ambassador's judgment, and followed his 
advice in this instance, as in many others. 

Riccardi confided to Niccolini, that he had got him- 
self into serious trouble in consequence of his having 
given Galileo the permission to print ; that there were 
a few phrases in the book which certainly wanted 
alteration, and that the end was not at all in accord- 
ance with the beginning ; besides which, the pages 
containing the license to publish were printed in a 
totally different type to the rest of the book. It is 
not easy to conceive what difference this could make, 
though the fact of its being so seemed to be as impor- 
tant a charge as any brought against Galileo. 

Niccolini advised great caution on the Grand 
Duke's side ; menace and remonstrance he -phe PO^S 
declared to be equally unavailing, for his irascibilit y- 
Holiness was not the man to brook contradiction ; 
and if he imagined that his Highness intended to 
brave his authority, it would be the worse for Galileo. 
They must gain over his ministers to Galileo's side, 
and temporize as much as possible. Thus, Niccolini 
ventured to keep back an official note of Cioli's in 

addressed to Cardinal' Gaetano, an Inquisitor, and published in 
Germany ; as, though Campanella wrote it in 1616, it was not 
ready for publication till after the promulgation of the edict pro- 
hibiting the discussion of the Copernican theory, that is, after 
the month of March. 

1 " And for other reasons," Niccolini says, without further 
explanation (dispatch of n September, 1632). The fact was, 
that it was feared Castelli's logic and eloquence would prove too 
powerful in Galileo's behalf. He had already won over the Com- 
missary Fiorenzuola to his side. 


which his Holiness was to be informed of the Grand 
Duke's displeasure, because " by making a great ado, 
they should only exasperate him and spoil everything." 

Though he professed complete ignorance of all sci- 
entific matters, Niccolini nevertheless thought it a 
great honor for Florence that the " Dialogue " had been 
published there. He and Riccardi both hoped that 
after Riccardi had altered such phrases as were con- 
trary to Scripture, the suspension might be withdrawn. 
For the present, Riccardi declared that the less said 
in defense of Galileo the better ; and told Niccolini 
moreover, under the seal of secrecy, that he had found 
Riccardfs a "linute in the books of the Holy Office, 
'./ which alone was sufficient to ruin Gali- 

O f 1616. j eO) namely, that sixteen years before he 
had been absolutely forbidden to hold or discuss the 
opinions which he had discussed in the " Dialogue." 

On the ist of October, the Inquisitor of Florence, 
Galileo's j n the presence of the Protonotary apos- 
appearand tolic and two monks as witnesses, transmit- 

ansiuer to 

the charge ted to Galileo the order from the Inquisition 

i"6' 3 2. at Rome. Galileo promised obedience, and 
signed the order, which then received the signatures 
of the Protonotary and witnesses. 

Galileo wrote to Cardinal Barberino, 1 to beg for a 
delay, and sent the letter open to Niccolini, in order 
that the latter might have cognizance of its contents 
before presenting it to his Eminence. Niccolini's opin- 
ion of its tenor was such that he refused to present it, 
alleging that the Cardinal was so situated as to have 
no alternative but to lay it before the Congregation ; 
that there it would be scrutinized and pondered over, 
1 This Barberino was Francesco, the Pope's nephew. 


and that Galileo would infallibly have to explain the 
meaning of a certain dark passage in it, whether he 
would or not. 

But though Niccolini would not undertake to pre- 
sent Galileo's letter to Cardinal Barberino, he solic- 
ited, unasked, the protection of two other cardinals, 
Ginetti, the Pope's intimate friend, and Boccabella, 
Assessor of the Congregation. " To these," he writes, 
" I represented his advanced age (seventy-five 1 ), his 
weak health, and the danger of travelling at this 
time, besides the discomfort attendant on performing 
quarantine. But as these are men who hear and 
answer not, this morning I spoke to his Holiness on 
the subject, placing strongly before him Signor Gali- 
leo's prompt submission, and begging him to take 
compassion on the poor man, so very aged, and whom 
I so love and revere." His Holiness answered that 
it was absolutely necessary for Galileo to The Pope -> s 
appear in person before the Inquisition. **rskness. 
Niccolini suggested that so extreme was the old man's 
weakness that if his Holiness insisted on his coming, 
he would, in all probability, fall ill and die by the way. 
The Pope answered that he might perform the journey 
as slowly as he pleased, but that come he must. He 
had brought all this trouble on himself; for he 
(Urban) had warned him when Cardinal. Niccolini 
declared that the approbation the book had received 
from Riccardi and others had caused all the trouble. 
Here he was interrupted by the Pope, who complaints 
recommenced his former complaints of the f the p t e - 

1 This was, perhaps, an intentional mistake of Niccolini's. 
Galileo was born in February, 1564, and was, consequently, in 
his sixty-ninth year. 


heresy of Galileo's doctrine, and the deceit of Ciam- 
poli and Riccardi. 

Finding from Monsignor Boccabella that the order 
Galileo cited for Galileo's appearance was actually being 

again to f. '..', 

appear drawn up/ Niccolmi hastened to advise 
inquisition, both Galileo and Cioli of it, adding that 
since matters had gone so far, it would be Galileo's 
best policy to comply with the order as speedily as 
possible. He had endeavored to discover whether 
Galileo would be placed in confinement on his arrival 
at Rome, but in vain ; from the friendly cardinals he 
could learn absolutely nothing. Every one was afraid 
of incurring censure if he so much as opened his 

On the 1 9th of November, Galileo was again called 
before the Inquisition of Florence. He declared him- 
self ready and willing to obey ; and said that his only 
reason for delaying his journey to Rome had been his 
age and infirmities, which were at that moment of a 
serious nature, requiring medical treatment. The 
Pope accorded a delay of one month. On the i8th 
of December the Inquisitor of Florence wrote that his 
vicar had seen Galileo, who was confined to his bed, 
and declared himself utterly incapable of undertaking 
a journey until his condition should be somewhat 
ameliorated. The Pope and the Congregation chose 
to treat this statement as a mere subterfuge. 2 

1 Niccolini to Cioli, November 13, 1632. 

2 " Sanctissimus mandavit Inquisitori rescribi quod Sanctitas 
Sua et Sacra Congregatio nullatenus potest et debet tolerare 
hujus modi subterfugia et ad effectum verificandi an revera in 
statu tali reperiatur quod non possit ad urbem absque vitae 
periculo accedere. Sanctissimus et Sacra Congregatio transmittet 
illuc commissarium una cum medicum qui ilium visitent ut certam 


Fearing from the silence observed on the subject 
by the Cardinals that there was an intention of pla- 
cing Galileo in prison, Niccolini, in concert with Mon- 
signor Boccabella, advised Galileo to procure ^j 1 .'* 
and forward a medical certificate of his certificate. 
state of health. This was accordingly done, and Nic- 
colini waited on Boccabella to know the result. It 
would seem that the more strenuous the representa- 
tions of Galileo's friends as to the impossibility of his 
performing the journey, the stronger the determination 
of the Pope and Congregation to have him at Rome. 
Boccabella said that the certificate had been received 
with shakes of the head ; that the members of the 
Congregation had declared it to have been drawn up 
to please Galileo ; that, in short, like his statement to 
the Inquisitor at Florence, it was a subterfuge. 1 If 

et sinceram relationem facient de statu in quo reperitur, et si erit 
in statu tali ut venire possit ilium carceratum et ligatum cum 
ferris transmittat. Si vero causa sanitatis et ob periculum vitae 
transmissio erit differenda, statim post quam convaluerit et 
cessante periculo carceratus et ligatus ac cum ferris transmittat. 
Commissarius autem et medici transmittantur ejus sumptibus et 
expensis quia se in tali statu et temporibus conticuit et tempore 
opportuno ut ei fuerat preceptum venire et facere contempsit." 
MS. of the Trial, fol. 409. 

1 Galileo's Medical Certificate, dated December 17, 1632. 

The original is among the other papers relating to the trial, 
which, after being carried to Paris in the time of the First Empire 
(1809), were lost, or supposed to be lost, and only restored to 
the Vatican in or about 1846- " Noi infranscritti medici facci- 
amo fede d'haver' visitato il Sig. Galileo Galilei e trovatolo con 
il polso intermittente a tre e quattro battute, dal che si conjettura 
la faculta vitale essere impedita e debilitata assai in questa eta 
declinante. Riferisce il detto patire di vertigini frequenti, di 
melancolia hipocondriaca, debolezza di stomaco, vigilie, dolori 
vaganti per il corpo, si come da altri pub essere attestato. Co se 


Galileo would take his advice, Boccabella concluded, 
he would set out at once ; and if he fell ill on the way, 
it would be all the better for him. " In spite of the 
threatened censure," Niccolini wrote, " I do not con- 
ceive that I should be acting rightly were I not to 
acquaint you of this. Beside, I do not wish this poor 
old man to be worse used than he is already." (i5th 
January, 1633.) 

Even the Grand Duke was at length convinced that 
Galileo would only damage his own cause by further 
delay. The greatest kindness he could confer on him 
was to show as publicly as possible that he had no in- 
tention of withdrawing his friendship from his venera- 
ble teacher, notwithstanding his being in disgrace with 
the Pope. Galileo set out on his weary journey in one 
of the grand-ducal litters on the 2oth of January, 


Widely different were the circumstances attending 
journey to tms journey to those which had attended 
that of eight years before ! Federigo Cesi, 
his princely entertainer and counselor at Acquasparta, 
was dead. His health, never good, was now a con- 
stant source of annoyance to him ; already his eye- 
sight had begun to fail. Not only was the time of 
year most unpropitious (from January to February be- 
ing the season when the tramontana is most biting and 
most persistent), but the region through which he was 

anco haviamo riconosciuto un hernia carnosa grave con attentatum 
del peritonea. Affetti tutti di considerazione, che per ogni 
piccola causa esterna potrebbe apportarli pericolo evidente della 

(Signed) VITTORIO DE' Rossi, Medico fi sico, mano propria. 
GIOVANNI RONCONI, Medico fisico, mano propria. 
PIETRO CERVIERI, Medico fisico, mano propria." 

1633.] ARRIVAL IN ROME. 22$ 

compelled to pass was singularly bleak and inhospita- 
ble, and its inhabitants as wild as the winds that howl 
across its wastes. 

The country round Ponte Centino, where he was 
forced to perform a quarantine of eighteen days, was 
infested with brigands and malefactors. From this 
place, as well as from each halting-place before reach- 
ing Ponto Centino, he had written to his daughter, 
notwithstanding his dim eyesight. In her answer, 
Sister Maria Celeste, after expressing her grief at her 
father's having been forced to remain so long in such 
a wretched habitation, deprived of every comfort, en- 
treats him " to keep up his spirits, and put his whole 
trust in God, who never forsakes those who trust in 

Galileo had lent his house to a friend, Signer Ron- 
dinelli ; but as this gentleman was detained in Flor- 
ence by a lawsuit, the confessor of the convent failed 
not to give a look at house and garden from time to 
time, to see that all went on well. 

On the evening of the 131)1 of February, Galileo 1 
arrived at Rome, and was received as the honored 
guest of the Tuscan Ambassador. On the following 

1 Niccolini sent a litter to meet Galileo at Ponte Centino, and 
wrote as follows to Cioli, to know whether the Grand Duke 
chose to pay for it or not : 

" I sent a litter to Ponte Centino, as Signor Galilei asked me. It 
was hired by the day, and my major-domo paid thirty-six Tuscan 
crowns, as it had had to wait some days at that place. I do not 
know whether this expense is to fall on him (Galileo), or whether 
my Serene Master chooses to take it on himself ; therefore I pray 
your lordship to let me know what I am to do. The litter which 
brought him to Ponte Centino was not allowed to pass the fron- 
tier, so he was obliged to send it back." 


day he paid a visit to the Ex-Assessor of the Holy 
Galileo ar- Office, Monsignor Boccabella, who received 

rives in . . , , , . 

Rome, Feb. 13. him with great kindness, and gave him some 
advice as to the behavior which would be most pru- 
dent un der the circumstances. Cheered by 
Boccabella's expressions of sympathy, the 
old man went on to pay the new Assessor of 
the Inquisition, and the Commissary, the necessary 
official visit. The Commissary was not at home ; but 
as a certain Girolamo Matti, a great friend of the Com- 
missary, was in the way, Niccolini judged that a visit 
to him might be useful, particularly as Signer Giro- 
lamo had expressed his admiration for Galileo, and had 
offered his services. 

" For this day," Niccolini writes, " it was impossi- 
ble to do more. To-morrow I shall endeavor to see 
Cardinal Barberino, in order to recommend Galileo to 
his protection. I shall also ask his Eminence to in- 
tercede with the Pope for him to be allowed to stay in 
this house, instead of sending him to the Holy Office, 
in respect to his age, his reputation, and his readiness 
in obeying the mandate." 

Two days after Niccolini wrote again, saying that, 
as far as could be gathered from men whose very es- 
sence was secrecy, the tribunal did not seem inclined 
to act with severity. The Commissary of the Holy 
Office had promised to represent to his Holiness Gal- 
Cardinai ileo's extreme readiness to obey. Cardinal 

Barber mo" 1 s 

message. Barberino had sent a message that he was 
not to pay visits, nor to admit everybody who would 
wish to see him ; for that such a course could only be 
to his great prejudice and harm : therefore, until he 
had further notice, he was to remain within doors, and 


keep himself quite retired. The Cardinal had been 
seen going to the Congregation of the Holy Office that 
morning, and as it was contrary to his custom to at- 
tend to it on a Wednesday, it was just possible that 
Galileo's affair was being discussed ; but this was only 
Niccolini's private conjecture. Galileo ventured to go 
out for the purpose of asking the protection of the Car- 
dinals Scaglia and Bentivogli ; but the Commissary of 
the Holy Office insisted on his keeping within doors, 
and seeing literally no one. His message, similar to 
Cardinal Barberino's, yet had greater weight, as, from 
its wording, he might be supposed to speak out of 
friendship to Galileo, when strictly his duty as Inquisi- 
tor would have been to remain silent. 

Monsignor Serristori, one of the counselors of the 
Inquisition, and an old friend of Galileo, came twice 
under pretense of paying him a visit, but as he talked 
all the time of nothing but the trial, it was thought 
with some reason that he had been sent by the Holy 
Office to discover Galileo's private opinions. "I 
think," Niccolini continues, "that I have succeeded 
somewhat in cheering up the good old man, by what 
I have told him of the steps being taken in his favor. 
Yet he constantly expresses his wonder at this per- 
secution." * 

We cannot sufficiently admire Niccolini's zeal in 
Galileo's behalf. He spared neither time nor pains 
to shield him from the Pope's displeasure ; and that 
the Pope was more to be feared than the Holy Office 
was but too evident. His Holiness lost his 
temper every time the Ambassador spoke of te 
Galileo, yet Niccolini persisted in speaking. If his 
1 Niccolini to Cioli, February 19, 1633. 


Holiness interrupted Pope Urban would seem to 
have had this irritating habit Niccolini waited 
quietly till he had said his say, and then began again. 
There must have been a comic side to these inter- 
views, in spite of the terrible fact that a man's liberty 
and life were hanging on a turn of the Pope's irascible 
temper. Notwithstanding his frequent protestations 
of friendship to the Grand Duke, Niccolini felt that, 
once within the walls of the Holy Office, it might go 
hard with the Grand Duke's servant. An unsubmis- 
sive look or word before his judges might be his ruin. 
Niccolini seems to have thought that he never could 
sufficiently impress upon Galileo the necessity of com- 
plete submission. Knowing the men, watching them 
daily, drawing conclusions from their silence more than 
from their speech, he felt that, to the ears of the Sa- 
cred Congregation, even the good old man's queru- 
lous wonderment at being brought to Rome instead of 
being let alone at Arcetri would sound contumacious 
and heretical. Niccolini had been long enough in 
Rome to know that Rome was like no other place in 
the world. From the very beginning, he suspected 
that, in spite of the alleged leniency to Galileo, the 
Holy Office might have severity in store. Its present 
kindness might be but a blind, to make Galileo 
The inqnisi- incriminate himself. The feeling of the In- 
^nth/ltate 1 quisitors was that the state of the public 
of the public m ind j n Florence was already sufficiently 
Florence. unsatisfactory ; that there were too many 
subtle intellects, eager for new doctrine ; and that 
Galileo, whether he had intended it or not, had given 
greater weight to the arguments for than to those 
against the earth's motion. It might be, as Niccolini 


once ventured to suggest, that the nature of the argu- 
ments required it to be so, and perhaps Galileo could 
not help himself. To which Cardinal Barberino re- 
joined that he knew well enough what a rare writer 
Galileo was ; that he knew how to express himself ex- 
quisitely, and also had a marvelous power of persuad- 
ing people to believe anything he chose. Which be- 
ing most undeniable, Niccolini held his peace, and 
wisely attempted no rejoinder. 

In a dispatch dated February the 27th, Niccolini 
gives an account of the audience in which x icco i in p s 
he had notified to his Holiness the fact of dispatch. 
Galileo's arrival, of which doubtless the Pope was 
already aware. 

" I added that I hoped his Holiness was inclined 
to be persuaded of his most devout and reverent ob- 
servance of ecclesiastical things, especially in the 
matter now under consideration ; that he was re- 
solved to submit himself wholly and absolutely to the 
learned judgment and prudent opinion of the Sacred 
Congregation ; and that I myself had been greatly 
comforted and edified by his devout submission. His 
Holiness answered that, in allowing Galileo to remain 
at my house instead of consigning him to the dungeons 
of the Holy Office, he had conferred a favor the like of 
which had never yet been granted ; and that NiccoUn? 5 
he had proceeded with this leniency because i& v /fo' 
Signer Galileo was the accepted servant of Po ^ e - 
our most Serene master, and for no other reason. 
For in consequence of the esteem he bore his High- 
ness, he had been willing to consider Signor Galileo 
a privileged person. He bade me remember that in 
the late case of a gentleman of the house of Gonzaga, 


a son of Ferdinand, 1 far different measures had been 
taken. For that he had been not only taken to Rome 
in a litter by the officers of the Inquisition, but was 
kept closely imprisoned for a long time, till judgment 
was pronounced." 

Niccolini, after returning humble thanks for his 
Holiness's goodness, proceeded to set before him 
Galileo's great age and many infirmities, as an ad- 
ditional reason for expedition in passing sentence. 
The Pope answered that the Holy Office was not 
wont to make haste, and he did not know whether 
Galileo's affair could be settled within a short space 
of time ; but that the indictment was being drawn up. 
His Holiness went on to complain of Galileo's book. 
It was a book which never should have been written ; 
Ciampoli had deceived him. Niccolini replied cau- 
tiously, feeling that he was treading on dangerous 
ground. His Holiness was firmly impressed with the 
The Pope opinion, not only that Galileo's doctrine was 
S GaUieoof bad > but that Galileo himself believed his 
believing his own doctrine : "a nice piece of work, 

own doc- " 

trine. truly." And to sum up all, Niccolini ex- 

presses his firm belief that, even if Galileo succeeded 
in making them believe he was right, they (the In- 
quisitors) would never let it be known that they felt 
themselves to have been in the wrong. 

Yet so little were the subtle Florentines able to guess 
the intention of the Sacred Congregation, that during 
February a report arose in Florence that Galileo had 
been acquitted of every charge, and was free to go 
where he would. 

1 Cardinal Ferdinand Gonzaga, on whom the Duchy of Mantua 
devolved on the death of his brother, Francesco IV., without 
male heirs, in 1628. 


Pecuniary Anxieties. Vincenzio Galilei's Inefficiency. Custom 
of clothing Servants. The Garden. Illness and Death at 
the Convent. Signora Maria Tedaldi. Niccolini and the 
Pope. Niccolini's Caution. Galileo before the Inquisition. 
A Visitor at St. Matthew's. Galileo's Examination. Good 
Offices of Cardinal Barberino. Gentle Treatment. Ignor- 
ance of the Pope's Real Feeling. Papal Absolution. Kind- 
ness of Niccolini. Sister Maria Celeste's Distress. The 
Plague. Galileo's Release. His Daughter's Letter. Pious 
Fraud. Vincenzio's Silence. 

WHILE expecting daily to be brought up for exami- 
nation before the Inquisition, Galileo's mind was further 
harassed by his domestic affairs. Vincenzio Pecuniary 
Landucci, his nephew, was pressing for pay- **?<* 
ment of a sum of money which Galileo owed him, and 
had served a notice on his uncle. This was felt to be 
a great insult ; but by Signor Rondinelli's advice Sister 
Maria Celeste paid it, " lest the creditors should offer 
some worse affront." From the trifling amount of the 
sum, six crowns, it would appear that this was the 
interest on a loan which had to be paid monthly, a 
very common arrangement in Italy. 

Signor Rondinelli took the money, intending to 
deposit it with the clerk of the tribunal till Galileo 
himself could be communicated with. But the clerk 
informed him that the money must be paid to Vin- 
cenzio Landucci at once : which was therefore done. 
The costs of the notice of course fell on Galileo. 


This little episode is one of the many instances of 
the small consideration which Galileo experienced at 
the hands of his relatives. We know that he had 
crippled himself to pay his brother's share of his two 
sisters' dowries, that he contributed largely, and at last 
wholly, to the maintenance of his brother's family. 
We learn also from his correspondence that he had 
used his interest to procure Benedetto Landucci a 
place at Court, and employment at Rome for another 
of the Landucci family. He was surety for his niece 
Sister Clara Landucci's dowry, which her father had 
only paid in part. His son Vincenzio was like a leech, 
crying, " Give, give ; " and it seems that Galileo did 
give, as long as he had a florin in his purse. Even 
when Vincenzio had employment, he seems to have 
been as much in need of help as when he had none. 
A clerkship had been procured for him at Poppi in the 
vincenzio' > s Casentino, but his inefficiency and careless- 

nGSS W6re SO S^ r ' in S tnat ne ran a T ' 1S ^ ^ 

being deprived of it, from which he was only 
saved by the interest of some of his father's friends, 
who, knowing what was in store for him, managed to 
stave off the blow ; he was, however, forced to send in 
his resignation. " I wish," wrote Geri Bocchineri to 
Galileo, " that you would write and tell him to mind 
his business, and not waste his time over his new in- 
vention a tuning-fork or some such thing, which 
might serve well enough to employ him after business 
hours were over, but which ought not to be the prin- 
cipal occupation of the day." 

Meantime Sister Maria Celeste was diligently en- 
deavoring to lessen her father's expenses, and to turn 
the garden to some account during his absence. In 

1633.] THE GARDEN. 233 

Tuscany it was the custom to clothe servants, as well as 
feed and lodge them. " The boy tells me," Custom of 


she writes, 1 " he shall want shoes and stock- servants. 
ings soon. I am going to knit him some stockings of 
coarse thread. Piera tells me that you had often said 
you were going to buy a bale of flax. I had intended 
to let them begin weaving a piece of coarse cloth for 
the kitchen, but shall await your lordship's orders. 

" The garden vines can be pruned now, as the moon 
is in the right quarter. Giuseppe's father , 

The garden. 

understands all about it, they tell me, but 
Signer Rondinelli will not fail to look after him. I 
hear that the lettuce is very fine, so I have ordered 
Giuseppe to carry it round for sale before it gets spoilt 
or destroyed. Seventy large oranges 2 have been sold j 
they got four lire 8 for them, a very fair price, as I under- 
stand it is a fruit which does not keep well. The 
oranges 4 were fourteen crazie the hundred, and two 
hundred were sold. 

" I still continue giving Brigida the giulio 5 every 
Saturday ; I consider this to be an alms exceedingly 
well applied, for she is a very good daughter, and is 
in great want." 

Of Sister Luisa we hear that she had been ill, but 
was better. Sister Virginia Canigiani was dead. Sister 
Maria Grazia del Pace, one of the mistresses, a truly 
kind and peaceful nun, was dying, and the sisters were 
overcome with grief at the thought of losing .her. 

1 Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, February 26, 1633. 

2 Melangole, an enormous fruit, sometimes called "Adam's 

8 A lire is equal to &/. 

* Arancia, the common orange. 

6 A coin worth about 4^. 


Among the names of the women who loved and 
signora honored Galileo, that of Maria Tedaldi has 
TedaidL come down to us. To judge from her letters 
to him during his enforced stay at Rome, she must 
have been an old and intimate friend. She was neither 
high-born like Caterina Niccolini, nor pious like Sister 
Luisa, nor witty like Alessandra Buonamici. Appar- 
ently of the same social standing as the Galilei and 
Bocchineri, it is evident that she is an exceedingly un- 
educated, unenlightened person. Vehement to extrav- 
agance in her expressions of friendship and sympathy 
to Galileo, she interlards her consolatory phrases with 
accounts of herself, her own concerns, those of her 
family and acquaintance, and those of all Florence gen- 
erally ; all of which she narrates in a hurried trivial 
manner, exceedingly characteristic in its way. As we 
read these letters, we wonder whether Signora Maria 
talked as she wrote ; and if so, how Galileo felt when 
he saw her inside the gate of his villa. Yet we do not 
wonder at his having preserved these letters. Situated 
as he was, advised by his most powerful friends to give 
the lie to his whole life for the sake of peace, this silly 
woman's friendship for and faith in him must have be- 
come invested with a certain value. Signora Maria 
Tedaldi says not a word in favor of his submission. 
On the contrary, she hopes that God will give him the 
victory over all his enemies. 

In spite of his own despondency, Galileo was careful 
to write in such a strain as to calm his daughter's anx- 
iety throughout this weary time. Thus on the i3th of 
sister Ma- March she writes back to him : " As matters 

ria Celeste's . _ . , T ... . 

letter. are going on so favorably, I will not mind 

though your return be delayed, for indeed my being 


disappointed for once is a small thing, if staying where 
you are redounds to your reputation and advantage. 
And what makes me still more easy is to hear how 
honorably you are treated by these excellent gentle- 
men, and in particular by her Excellency the Ambas- 
sadress, my lady and mistress. I am well now, be- 
cause my mind is at rest. Nevertheless I do not cease 
praying for you." Then, after giving an account of the 
invalids at the convent, and naming the persons who 
desired to be affectionately remembered to her father, 
she says : " I pray your patience if I have been tedious j 
but you must remember that I have to put into this 
paper everything that I should chatter to you in a 

Sister Maria Celeste's mind would not have been at 
ease had she known of the interview which N iccoimt>s 
Niccolini had had with the Pope on the same ^T , 
day she wrote. Niccolini had persisted in p P e - 
asking for a dispensation for Galileo ; he felt that a 
great point would be gained if he could only be kept 
outside the walls of that terrible Holy Office. He en- 
treated the Pope to add another favor to that which he 
had already granted, assuring him that his master 
would be doubly grateful if this further leniency were 
extended to Galileo. But in vain did Niccolini dilate 
upon his age and his many infirmities ; the Pope was 
not to be moved. " And might God pardon him for 
discussing such matters, for," said his Holiness, repeat- 
ing what he had said before, " it was altogether a new 
doctrine, and contrary to Holy Scripture, and Galileo 
would have done better had he held the popular opin- 
ion. And might God pardon Ciampoli too, for he was 
a friend of this new philosophy, and had a hankering 


after new doctrine. As for Signer Galileo, he had 
been his friend, and he had even admitted him to inti- 
macy, and was sorry to displease him, but he must do 
what was for the furtherance of the Christian faith." 
Niccolini ventured to say that he thought Galileo's 
opinion only went as far as that, God being omnipo- 
tent, it was as easy to him to make the world go round 
as not : 1 whereat the Pope flew into a passion. " See- 

1 The following extract from the Dialogue may serve as an 
illustration of the breadth of Galileo's views, compared with those 
of his opponents : 

" Simplicio. . . . It is not to be denied that ' the heavens 
may surpass in bigness the capacity of our imaginations, nor that 
God might have created them a thousand times larger than they 
really are ; but we ought not to admit anything to be created in 
vain, or useless, in the universe. Now we see this beautiful 
arrangement of the planets, disposed round the earth at dis- 
tances proportioned to the effects they are to produce on us for 
our benefit. To what purpose, then, should a vast vacancy be 
afterwards interposed between the orbit of Saturn and the starry 
spheres, containing not a single star, and altogether useless and 
unprofitable ? to what end ? for whose use and advantage ? 

" Salviati. Methinks we arrogate too much to ourselves, Sim- 
plicio, when we assume that the care of us alone is the adequate 
and sufficient work and limit beyond which the Divine wisdom 
and power does, and disposes of, nothing. I feel confident that 
nothing is omitted by God's providence which concerns the 
government of human affairs ; but that there may not be other 
things in the universe dependent upon his supreme wisdom, I 
cannot, with what power of reasoning as I have, bring myself to 
believe. So that when I am told of the uselessness of an immense 
space interposed between the orbits of the planets and the fixed 
stars, empty and valueless, I reply that there is temerity in 
attempting by feeble reason to judge the works of God, and in 
calling vain and superfluous every part of the universe which is 
of no use to us. 

" Sagredo. Say rather that we have no means of knowing what 

1633.] NIC CO LI NI AND THE POPE. 237 

ing this," Niccolini writes, " I ceased from a disputation 
on matters which I did not understand ; and, fearing 
that I too might be accused of heresy by the Holy 
Office, I turned to other subjects." But Niccolini did 
not take leave without again entreating the Pope to 

is of use to us. I hold it to be one of the greatest pieces of 
arrogance and folly that can be in this world, to say, because I 
know not of what use Jupiter and Saturn are to me, that there- 
fore these planets are superfluous ; nay, more, that there are no 
such bodies in existence. To understand what effect is worked 
upon us by this or that heavenly body (since you will have it 
that all their use must have a reference to us) it would be neces- 
sary to remove it for a while, and then the effect which I find 
no longer produced in me I may say depended upon that star. 
Besides, who will dare say that the space which they call too 
vast and useless, between Saturn and the fixed stars, is void of 
other bodies belonging to the universe ? Must it be so because 
we do not see them? Then in that case the four Medicean 
planets and the companions of Saturn came into the heavens 
when we began to see them, and not before ! And, by the same 
rule, the innumerable host of fixed stars did not exist before men 
saw them. The nebulae, which the telescope shows us to be 
constellations of bright and beautiful stars, were, till the telescope 
was discovered, only white flakes. O, presumptuous! nay, 
rather, O, rash ignorance of man ! " Dialogue on the Two Great 
Systems: Conversation the Third. 

As an example of the style of his opponents, an extract may 
be given from a book written in 1632, by Chiaramonti, then Pro- 
fessor of Philosophy at Pisa, against the Copernican system : 
" Animals, that are capable of motion, have joints and limbs ; 
the earth has neither joints nor limbs, therefore it does not 

" The planets, the sun, and the fixed stars, are all of one sub- 
stance, that is to say, of the substance of stars ; therefore they 
either move together or stand still together. 

" It is to the last degree unseemly to place among the celestial 
bodies, which are divine and pure, the earth, which is a sewer 
full of vile filth," etc., etc. 


allow Galileo to remain a prisoner at his residence 
during the examinations. His persistence so far suc- 
ceeded, that the Pope deigned to inform him that 
Galileo should be lodged, not in the dungeons, but in 
the best and most comfortable rooms of the Holy 
Office. " I did not tell Galileo that it was probable 
his case was soon coming on," Niccolini says ; " be- 
cause I knew it would make him uneasy till the time 
came, and there is no knowing how long they may 
keep him waiting. The Commissary of the Holy 
Office told my secretary some days since that they were 
talking of having him examined. But the Pope's hu- 
mor pleases me not ; it is as bad as ever." 1 Acting 
The Grand on Niccolmi's advice, the Grand Duke wrote 
r^commeltd- letters to the Cardinals S. Onofrio, Borgia, 
ttL l me e m- S - sisto > Barberino, Gessi, Ginetti, and Ve- 
*Conre^- ros P^ recommending Galileo to their good 
tion. offices. This step, according to Niccolini, was 

rendered necessary by his Highness having already writ- 
ten to Bentivogli and Scaglia, both cardinals and mem- 
bers of the Congregation, for the express purpose of en- 
treating their favor for Galileo. These letters had had 
a good effect, but if the other cardinals discovered that 
the Grand Duke had written to two of their number to 
the exclusion of the rest, their self-love would be 
wounded, and Galileo would be the sufferer. 2 

The Ambassador's wife, Caterina Riccardi, was in 
no degree behind her husband in kindness to Galileo. 
Fearing that, notwithstanding her anxious endeavors 
to put him entirely at his ease, he still felt in some 
measure under constraint, she kindly wrote to Sister 

1 Niccolini to Cioli, Secretary of State, March 13, 1633. 

2 Ibid., March 10, 1633. 


Maria Celeste, begging her to persuade her father to 
behave in all respects precisely as if he were in his own 
house. From Niccolini's care in keeping Nicco i in p s 
back as much as possible from Galileo's caution - 
knowledge the difficulties which beset him at every 
turn of the negotiations he had undertaken on his behalf, 
Galileo's daughter was as far from having any just ap- 
preciation of his situation at this time as were his friends 
at Florence. Thus, before Galileo had ever been called 
up for his first examination, she writes : " I want you to 
bring me a present on your return, which I trust is not 
far off. I am sure that at Rome copies of good pictures 
are easily obtained, and I should like you to bring me 
a little picture the size of the inclosed piece of paper. 
I want the kind they make to shut up like a little book, 1 
with two portraits, one an Ecce Homo^ and the other a 
Madonna, and I wish them to have as tender and 
heavenly an expression as possible. I do not care for 
ornaments. A plain frame will be quite good enough, 
for I only want it on purpose to keep it always by me." 
The day before Signor Rondinelli had been invited 
to dine with the Mother Abbess, and had A visitor at 
insisted on Sister Maria Celeste and Sister 

Arcangela joining the dinner party. It was Mid- Lent, 
so they feasted on the best the convent could afford ; 
even the poor melancholy invalid passed a merry day. 
Sister Maria Celeste thinks it worthy of particular 
mention, "how exceedingly Sister Arcangela enjoyed 
herself." This was but one of good Signor Rondinelli's 
many kindnesses to the two sisters. 

The personal examination of Galileo was fixed for 
the 1 2th of April. As a special mark of the 
pontifical favor, Niccolini had been informed 
1 A diptych. 


of it beforehand. Taking advantage of a severe attack 
of gout from which Galileo was then suffering, he again 
sought to move the Pope to compassion, but without 
success. It was alleged that his presence was abso- 
lutely necessary ; that it was totally without prece- 
dent for a defendant to be at liberty while in course 
of examination before the Holy Office. The reason 
of this, obviously, was to insure complete secrecy, 
for Niccolini, ever ready at excuse and expedient, sug- 
gested that surely the purpose of the Inquisition would 
be answered sufficiently if Galileo were forbidden to 
mention the subject of his examinations under pain of 
censure. But his Holiness was immovable, and Nic- 
colini wisely desisted, covering his defeat by returning 
Ntccoimfs thanks for favors already obtained. The 
advice. Pope again alluded to the contents of Gali- 
leo's book in terms of severity. " And yet," Niccolini 
wrote, 1 " he (Galileo) will have it that he can defend 
his opinions exceedingly well. But I have exhorted 
him, in order to bring the matter to an end as soon as 
possible, not to be careful to maintain them, but just 
to submit to anything they choose to have, even if he 
really does hold and believe this doctrine of the earth's 
motion. This advice of mine has afflicted him ex- 
tremely : so much so, that ever since yesterday he has 
Galileo^ been in such a state of prostration that I 
trtt*. ' have my fears for his life. I shall beg that 
a servant may be allowed him, and as much comfort 
as the place will admit of. Meanwhile we are all doing 
our best to console him, and to help him through our 
recommendations to the most friendly disposed mem- 
bers of the Congregation. For truly he deserves 
1 Niccolini to Cioli, April 9, 1633. 


every possible kindness that can be shown him, and I 
cannot describe to you the grief of the whole house, 
for every one here loves him exceedingly." 

The first examination, which took place before 
Father Vincenzio Maccolani da Fiorenzuola His first ex- 

//~. /-i <v- y~i i n /-rk animation, 

(Commissary-General), Carlo Sincere (Pro- April 12. 
curator-Fiscal), and another not named, only lasted 
a few minutes. Galileo was asked whether he knew 
the reason of his being cited before the tribunal. 
Having answered in the affirmative, he was remanded. 
From Niccolini's account it appears that Galileo was 
received with great courtesy by the Commissary-Gen- 
eral, who had him installed in the apartments of the 
Fiscal, so that not only was he in the part of the 
building devoted to the use of the officers, but he had 
liberty to take the air in the court. His own servant 
was permitted to be with him, and his meals were 
taken to him twice a day from Niccolini's Good offices 
house. The Commissary declared to Nic- BarT er ino. 
colini that Galileo owed this gentle treatment in great 
part to the good-will of Cardinal Barberino, who had 
been untiring in his endeavors to mitigate the Pope's 
resentment. It was clear that, Cardinal Barberino 
being friendly to Galileo, the rest of the Inquisitors 
would take their cue from him. Niccolini mentions 
that when he presented these Cardinals with the let- 
ters which he had advised the Grand Duke to write, 
some of them declined the responsibility of taking 
them, until he assured them that Cardinal Barberino 
had not refused to take his, after which there was no 
farther objection. 

Tormented with the gout, and deprived of the so- 
ciety of the Ambassador and his gracious and sympa- 


thizing wife, Galileo seems to have borne his imprison- 
ment with a degree of impatience at variance with his 
natural serenity. We must bear in mind the ever- 
present fear that each forthcoming examination might 
end in the application of the torture. Apart from this 
he had no cause for complaint. Since the establish- 
ment of the tribunal in 1215, no prisoner had ever been 
Gentle treat- treated with the leniency accorded to Gali- 
leo, the Grand Duke's servant. Princes, 
prelates, and noblemen, all had been consigned to the 
secret dungeons from the very commencement of their 
trial. Had Galileo been a scion of a royal house, he 
could scarcely have met with more consideration, or 
have been treated with more distinction. Yet he 
ceased not to complain of, and to entreat greater ex- 
pedition in the conduct of his case by, a body whose 
power of procrastination was scarcely equaled by its 
cold ferocity. Daily letters passed between him and 
Niccolini, who, while he exhorted him to patience, 
ceased not to recommend him to all the cardinals in 
turn. Not only was he allowed to write to Niccolini, 
but to Signor Geri Bocchineri, his daughter, and oth- 
ers, Signora Maria Tedaldi among the number. In a 
letter of hers dated the i6th of April, we see suffi- 
ignorance ciently how complete was the ignorance of 

of the Papers J . 

real feeling those not behind the scenes as to the real 
Gaiaeo S . attitude of the Pope towards Galileo. She 
begs him to procure her a papal absolution, in order 
that, in case of her sudden death from plague, she 
may escape the pains of purgatory. This papal abso- 
lution was never granted but as a particular favor; 
Signora Maria insists that Galileo will not have the 
least difficulty in obtaining it. " I am positive," she 


writes, " that you can get one for me, for his Holiness 
often gives them ; and a friend of mine, Signora de' 
Bracci, got one, so why not you ? " 

" I suppose you know that this absolution must be 
in iscrittis. Therefore, my dear sir, I do beg The papal 
you for Heaven's sake to do me this very absolution. 
great favor, which will enable me to live the rest of 
my days with a good hope of salvation ; and if I die 
before you, you will be sure of having as intercessor 
before the face of His Divine Majesty, for your greater 
happiness, a person who is deeply indebted to you. 

" And if it were possible to obtain the same favor 
for Sister Serafma, my sister, I should be doubly 
grateful, for she too prays for you without ceasing. 
Do pray manage to bring me this most rare present 
on your return. By so doing, you will indeed make 
me doubly indebted to you in life and death." 

The news of Galileo's imprisonment was told Sister 
Maria Celeste by her father's friend, Geri Galileo a 

' prisoner of 

Bocchmen. Having learnt none 01 the en- tke inquisi- 
couraging particulars, but only the bare fact, &, ' 
she writes thus, 1 in deep distress, yet with a certain 
caution, mingled with an absolute certainty of her 
father's innocence : 

" I have just been informed by Signor Geri of your 
being imprisoned in the Holy Office. This, consoling 
though on the one hand it grieves me much, J^JJ^wfe. 
feeling sure as I do that you are anxious and ria Celeste. 
uneasy, and perhaps without bodily comfort, yet on 
the other hand, considering that it must have come to 
this before the business could be terminated, and con- 
sidering also the benignancy with which you have per- 
1 Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, April 20, 1633. 


sonally been treated, and, above all, the righteousness 
of your cause, and your innocence in this particular 
matter, I feel comforted, and hope for a prosperous 
ending with the help of Almighty God, to whom I 
cry without ceasing, recommending you to his care 
with the greatest love and confidence." 

" Only be of good cheer. Do not let yourself give 
way to grief, for fear of the effect it would have on 
your health. Turn your thoughts to God, and put 
your trust in Him, who, like a loving Father, never 
forsakes those who trust in Him unceasingly. My 
dearest lord and father, I have written instantly on 
learning this news of you, that you might know how I 
sympathize with you in your distress. Perhaps when 
you know this, it will not be quite so hard to bear. I 
have mentioned what I have just heard to no creature 
in this house, choosing to make my joy and gladness 
common to all, but to keep my troubles to myself. 
Consequently, everybody is looking forward joyfully 
to seeing you back again. And who knows ? Perhaps 
even while I am writing, the crisis may be past, and 
you may be relieved of all anxiety. May it be the 
Lord's will in whose keeping I leave you." 

Three days later she writes again : 

" Though in your last letter you give no particulars 
whatever respecting your business, 1 perhaps because 
you do not wish to make me a partaker of your 
troubles, yet I found out how matters stood from 
some one else, as my letter of last Wednesday will 

1 It is to be observed that the proceedings against Galileo are 
always alluded to in mild, vague terms, as the " business," the 
" matter," the "affair," never as il processo. The prisons of the 
Holy Office are the " rooms," le stanze. 


have told you. Till your letter came I was in deep 
distress of mind, but now, being assured of your 
health, I again breathe freely. Your orders shall 
be strictly carried out. We thank you for your 
kindness in allowing Sister Arcangela and myself 
to have what money we want. Here in the convent 
we are all well, thank God ; but I hear that there is 
contagious sickness in Florence, and also in some 
parts of the suburbs. Therefore, even if your busi- 
ness be soon finished, pray do not set out, and so put 
your life in danger, especially as the exceeding gra- 
ciousness of your host and hostess will allow of your 
remaining as long as is necessary. Sister Luisa and 
our other friends return your salutations, and I pray 
our Lord God to give you abundantly of his grace." 

While Sister Maria Celeste was writing thus, Signora 
Maria Tedaldi, full of fear lest the plague should seize 
her before she got the papal absolution, wrote again 
at length, repeating and enlarging upon what she had 
said in her former letter to Galileo. She entreats him 
to excuse her importunity, seeing how grave and ur- 
gent is the necessity. The weather had been Increase O f 
changeable, and there had been a vast in- thetfague. 
crease in the mortality in consequence. The officers 
of the Board of Health had ordered a strict quaran- 
tine ; friends and neighbors were forbidden to enter 
each other's houses for fear of spreading the contagion. 
On the morning of the day on which she wrote, an- 
other proclamation had been issued, full of warnings 
and behests. All women and children were ^ 


to keep within doors for the space of ten regulations. 
days, to begin on the Sunday morning (April 24th) at 
the mid-day Ave Maria bell. This injunction appears 


to have put Signora Maria into a state of uncontrol- 
lable panic. She entreats Galileo with much abject 
iteration to procure her "that blessed papal absolu- 
Signora tion." l Yet, though evidently shaking in her 
gossip. ' shoes, she cannot help retailing odds and 
ends of gossip. Vincenzio Landucci and his father 
had fyeen to law, and Vincenzio had had the worst of 
it. Vincenzio Galilei had been offered a petty clerk- 
ship, which he had refused, preferring to be maintained 
by Galileo. No other place had been offered him as 
yet. She has a widowed daughter at home, for whom 
she wants to find a second husband, and hopes Galileo 
will help her in the search as soon as he returns. The 
new Podesta (mayor) had not gone to Fiesole after all. 
His Highness had ordered that no changes were to be 
made in the administration, for fear of the plague being 
carried about to places which were free from it as yet. 
The Madonna dell' Impruneta had been carried in 
procession, with her guard of honor on horseback. 
She had been met at the Porta Romana by my Lord 
Archbishop, the clergy of the cathedral, all the magis- 
trates, companies, and brotherhoods, and their Serene 
The traces- Highnesses into the bargain. The cannon 
sion. had roared, the tapers had blazed, the altars 

at the street corners had never been more beautifully 
got up. Galileo's house on the hill-side had been 
ornamented in the most creditable manner. The 

1 The phrase sounds pious enough, yet we remain in some 
doubt whether Signora Maria meant " blessed" as she wrote it. 
The Tuscans, when they wish to express impatience, invariably 
make use of the adjective " blessed." Thus Che benedetto tempo ! 
must be translated, " What horrid weather ! " Che benedetto uomo ! 
" What a tiresome man ! " 


whole city had put its confidence in the Madonna. 
For the honor of Tuscany the plague must be stayed 
now. Nevertheless Signora Maria wished to make 
sure of the papal absolution. 

Supposing that during Galileo's detention within the 
walls of the Holy Office his letters to his daughter 

might be delayed or detained, Caterina Nic- The 

. . . , , i r i r sador's wife, 

colmi, with a rare thoughtfumess for one so Caterina 

........ , -,. Riccardi- 

much her inferior in rank, wrote to bister Niccoimi. 
Maria Celeste, telling her what she knew of her father, 
but still keeping in view the brightest side, as Galileo 
himself did, lest the poor daughter should be too much 
distressed. It would appear from more than one of 
Sister Maria Celeste's letters that Galileo had spoken 
so much to the Ambassadress about his daughter as to 
make her wish for her personal acquaintance, and she 
had signified her intention of paying the sisters a visit 
on her return to her native city. We learn from a 
letter written some time later that Sister Maria Celeste 
was expecting the Ambassadress with a mixture of 
pleasure and trepidation. Her father's advice was 
necessary before she could decide on what kind of 
present she might venture to offer without offense to 
the great lady. 

It is gratifying to know what staunch supporters 
Galileo found in Niccolini and his wife. Acting by 
the advice of his minister Cioli, the Grand stinginessof 
Duke had signified to the Ambassador that ' Dukt. 
Galileo's expenses were hot to be defrayed from the 
Treasury after the first month of his sojourn at Rome. 
Niccolini's spirited reply must have been a rebuke to 
both Cioli and the Grand Duke. He declined alto- 
gether to discuss the subject while Galileo was in his 


house, and declared that he would take all expense on 
. 7 . , himself rather than allow it to be borne by 

AllCCOllttl S J 

reply. the good old man. 

The second examination took place on the 3oth of 
Galileo^ April. Acting by Niccolini's advice, Gali- 

secondex- * f I / 

amination. leo, on being invited to speak, took the op- 
portunity to endeavor to remove, if possible, from the 
minds of his judges the impression that he had written 
in malice prepense on the subject of the earth's mo- 
tion. His error, he confessed, had been a vain ambi- 
tion, and pure ignorance and inadvertence, but of 
willful disobedience he declared himself innocent. 
With this the examination concluded ; but imme- 
diately after he requested permission to speak. The 
request being complied with, he offered, as a proof of 
his not holding the forbidden doctrine, to add to his 
book one or two more dialogues, if necessary, to con- 
fute the arguments in favor of the Copernican theory 
contained in the body of the book, which in fact ter- 
minates with the promise of another meeting for the 
further elucidation of the questions which had been 

After this examination, the Commissary of the In- 
Father vin- quisition, taking pity on Galileo's sufferings, 
C c e o n ianid<? c ~ interceded with the Pope for his release. 
Fiorenzuoia. Urban was so far touched by the Commis- 
sary's representations that he consented to his being 
Galileo's re- released conditionally. 1 Galileo was there-, after , , , _ . ..... 

the second fore sent back to Niccolmi s house on the 

same evening (April 3oth), to the astonish- 
ment and delight of the whole household. Not less 

1 "... De non tractando cum aliis quam cum familiari- 
bus et domesticis illius palatii." 


was the rejoicing at St. Matthew's on hearing the good 
news. "The joy that your last dear letter y oyo f his 
brought me," Sister Maria Celeste writes, daughter. 
" and the having to read it over and over to the nuns, 
who made quite a jubilee on hearing its contents, put 
me into such an excited state that at last I got a severe 
attack of headache. I do not say this to reproach you, 
but to show how I take to heart all your concerns. 
And though I am not more strongly affected by what 
happens to you than a daughter ought to be, yet I dare 
to say that the love and reverence I bear my dearest 
lord and father does surpass by a good deal that of 
the generality of daughters. And I know that in like 
manner he excels most parents in his love of me, his 
daughter. I give hearty thanks to our gracious God 
for the mercies you have hitherto received. You justly 
say, all our mercies come from Him. And though you 
consider these now received as an answer to my pray- 
ers, yet truly they count for little or nothing ; but God 
knows how dearly I love you, and so He hears me. 
And for this we owe Him the greater thanks." 

A few days later, she writes : " You will have heard 
already what joy and comfort your last letter gave me. 
As I was obliged to give it to Signer Geri that 
Vincenzio might see it, I made a copy, which Signer 
Rondinelli, after reading himself, would carry into 
Florence to read to some of his friends, who he knew 
would be extremely glad to hear particulars. He 
returned the copy, assuring me it had given much 
satisfaction. Piera tells me she never goes out except 
to hear mass, or to come here to see us ; and nobody 
comes to the house except Signer Rondinelli. The 
boy sometimes goes as far as Signor Bocchineri's to 


get the letters, and nowhere else ; for besides the 
necessity of keeping clear of plague infection, he is 
still weak from his late illness. 1 

"I send this old account-book that you may see 
what I have spent for the servants, and "also what 
money I had for that purpose. The remainder I 
made bold to take for my own expenses and Sister 
Arcangela's ; and now I am going to begin a fresh 

" The other disbursements made since your depar- 
Momy mat- ture cons i s t of seventeen crowns and a half 
Urs - to Signer Lorenzo Bini for the rent of the 


" I paid twenty-four crowns at four different times 
to Vincenzio Landucci, and six lire, thirteen crazie, 
four soldi, the costs of that notice which was served on 
you. I have all the receipts. 

" I took twenty-five crowns for Sister Arcangela, as 
I told you. I was obliged to take fifteen more, to 
enable her to get through her tiresome office (benedetto 
uffizio) of purveyor. By God's help and your kind 
assistance, she has managed to get through it, appar- 
ently to the entire satisfaction of the nuns. I shall 
return these fifteen crowns immediately our allowance 
is paid us. We ought to have received it by this 

"This year it was Sister Arcangela's turn to be 
cellarer, and I felt very anxious about it. However, 
through the kindness of Mother Abbess, I have 
obtained the office of keeper of the laundry for her 

l " . . . E di piu pieno dirognaacquistatanellospedale." 
Letter 86. We may hope that the Hospital of S. Bonifazio is 
better managed than it was in 1633. 


instead ; so she will have to look after the washing, 
and to keep an account of all the convent linen." 

The next paragraph, contrasted with the Ambas- 
sador's letters to Cioli of the same date, is Ga m eo i s 
another instance of the pious fraud Galileo pious fraud. 
practiced on his daughter in order to avoid awakening 
her anxiety on account of his health. 

" I am particularly glad to hear of your being well, 
for I feared greatly that all your troubles would have 
had a bad effect on* your health. The Lord has 
indeed granted you a great mercy, in keeping you 
thus free from pain, both of mind and body. For 
this may His Name be ever blessed ! They say the 
plague still continues, but that lately few deaths only 
have occurred, and they hope it will stop now the 
Madonna dell' Impruneta has been carried in pro- 

"I wonder at Vincenzio never having written to 
you, and I glory in having been beforehand with him 
in writing constantly, notwithstanding that I too have 
sometimes found time wanting : to-day I have written 
this at four different times, having had constant inter- 
ruptions from the pharmacy, and also from the tooth- 
ache, which has been troublesome for many days 

For once Sister Maria Celeste was unjust to her 
brother. Vincenzio did not write, it was true; but 
the reason was, that fear of the plague had interrupted 
all communication between the healthy and the in- 
fected districts. Vincenzio had not long been ap- 
pointed to a clerkship at Poppi, chief town of the 
Casentino, a district to which the dreadful scourge 
had not penetrated. 1 

1 Geri Bocchineri to Galileo, May 12, 1633. 


Galileo's Defense. Further Interrogation. Dissimulation of 
the Pope. The Sentence. Abjuration Prohibition of all 
his Works. Niccolini's Negotiations. Galileo's Prostra- 
tion Disgrace of Ciampoli and others. Sister Maria 'Ce- 
leste's Grief. Burning of Papers. Galileo's Arrival at 
Siena Rejoicing at St. Matthew's. Galileo's Despondency. 

His Daughter consoles him. Her Longing for his Return. 

The Garden. Her Castles in the Air. Piera's Message. 

Episode of Cloister Life. Sister Maria Celeste's Letter. 
Sickness at the Convent. Galileo's Presents to the Sisters. 
Presentiments. Reports of Galileo's Enemies. Return to 
Arcetri. Death of Sister Maria Celeste. 

ON the i oth of May, Galileo was called before the 
Inquisition for the third time, and informed that a 
Galileo's de- s P ace f eight days was assigned to him for the preparation of his defense. He pre- 

sented Cardinal Bellarmine's certificate, dated May 
26, 1616. From the context of this certificate, he de- 
clared that he had believed himself at liberty to write 
as he had written. It did not contain the words " vel 
quovis modo docere," and he had had no idea but that 
it was one and the same thing with the decree of the 
Congregation of the Index, which, as he had since 
learnt, did contain those words. His written defense 
was a repetition of the answers and explanations which 
he had given during his examinations, and was ter- 
minated by a touching appeal to the mercy of the 

On the part of the Inquisitors there was a strong 

1633.] THE. POPE'S DECREE. 253 

inclination to leniency. More than one actually fa- 
vored the Copernican theory, and nearly all were per- 
sonally well disposed to Galileo. He had been given 
to understand 1 that the trial would terminate favora- 
bly, and that he would shortly be at liberty to return 
to Florence and resume his old pursuits. But, as the 
result soon showed, it was far otherwise. 

The papers containing the minutes of the examina- 
tions had been given to three consulting Avgustino 
theologians of the Holy Office to report ^ e e f c f^ or 
upon. The reports were handed in sepa- inchofer.a 

1 Jesuit, and 

rately, but all three were unanimous in de- Zaccaria 
claring that Galileo had taught, defended? counselors ' 
and adhered to the condemned opinion 


The Pope's speech to Niccolini will be re- Holy Office ' 
membered. He had feared not only that the doctrine 
was bad, but that Galileo himself believed his own 
doctrine. The reports of the counselors of the Holy 
Office did away with any favorable impression which 
might have been made by the prisoner's defense. Be- 
sides this belief in the Pope's mind of Galileo's heter- 
odoxy, there was, as we learn from Niccolini's dis- 
patches, a strong feeling against Galileo, altogether 
private and personal. CAt the least the man must be 
silenced. That was the capital point. A decree was 
issued by the Pope on the i6th of June, ordering an 
examination for the 2ist, in which Galileo was to be 
further pressed as to his intention in writing the " Di- 
alogue. 'Q^jle was to be menaced with the torture. 
If the menace had no effect, he was to be made to 
pronounce an abjuration for suspicion of Galileo 
heresy (" abjuratio de vehement! suspicione 
haeresis"). "j He was to be imprisoned during tort 
1 Niccolini to Cioli, May I, 1633. 


the pleasure of the Congregation, and to be enjoined 
for the future to abstain from discussing the Coperni- 
can theory in any way whatever, either for or against, 
under pain of being treated as a relapsed heretic. 

Whether the Pope's intention was that the menace 
of torture should remain a mere menace or not, Gal- 
ileo's answer proves that he expected it to become a 
reality : " I am in your hands ; do as you 

His answer. . . . ,, . . ,. 

please with me. " And, as the minute of 
the examination runs, " as nothing more could be got 
from him he was remanded " (" Et cum nihil aliud pos- 
set haberi in executionem decreti, habita ejus subscrip- 
tione, remissus fuit adlocum suum.") 

If we contrast this last decree and the subsequent 
Dissimnia- sentence and abjuration with the Pope's atti- 

tionofthe . . , . . V .*.* i* 'i 

Pope. tude during his interviews with Niccolmi, it 

will take away all doubt as to whether his Holiness 
was or was not an adept in the art of dissimulation. 

To Niccolini, his anger appeared to have melted 
away in sorrow. He protested that he would willingly 
have treated Galileo with greater leniency, merely 
from his regard for the Grand Duke ; but that Galileo's 
opinion, being contrary to Holy Scripture, must be 
prohibited. And it would be further necessary to 
inflict some salutary chastisement on him for having 
transgressed the decree of 1616. The Congregation 
were then deliberating on the sentence ; and as soon 
as it was published, Niccolini was promised another 
audience, that the Pope and he might consult together 
on it. The Pope declared that, though it was impos- 
sible to give Galileo a free pardon, yet he wished to 
afflict him as little as possible. He thought he might 
be confined in a monastery for a time. " Of the per- 

1633-] HIS ABJURATION.* 255 

sonal punishment I have as yet said nothing to Gali- 
leo," Niccolini wrote, 1 " in order not to distress him 
by telling him everything at once ; also by his Holi- 
ness' orders, who did not wish to add to his troubles ; 
and also because there may be a change of opinion." 

On the 22d of June, Galileo was conducted to the 
great hall of the Inquisition at Santa Maria sopra Mi- 
nerva. There, before the supreme magistracy of the 
Holy See, its head alone being absent, he was made 
to kneel and hear the sentence, which declared him 
vehemently suspected of heresy, and condemned him 
to imprisonment during the pleasure of the Thesen . 
Holy Office. As a salutary penance, he was tence - 
ordered to say the Penitential Psalms once a week for 
three years. 2 He was then made to recite the abjura- 
tion dictated beforehand by the Pope. 3 

Galileo had long before made up his mind that his 
book would be prohibited, but had hoped by his com- 
plete submission to escape punishment himself. But 
the Pope knew the man sufficiently well to be aware 
that under an appearance of leniency he could inflict 
the severest torture. For the abjuration which Galileo 
was forced to repeat word for word must have wrung 
his soul as severely as the torture of the cord could 
have wrung the muscles and tendons of his body. 

It is said that Galileo, on rising from his knees after 
his abjuration, muttered " Eppure si muove ! " " It does 
move, though ! " This is one of those fine things which 
are put into the mouths of great men, but which in 
fact are not said except by their biographers. It is 

1 Niccolini to Cioli, June 18, 1633. 

2 See Appendix I. 
8 See Appendix II. 


indeed impossible that Galileo should have uttered 
such words as would have caused his instant consign- 
ment to the deepest dungeons of the Inquisition. 
Alone and without support in the midst of that stern 
assembly, distressed in mind and suffering in body, we 
may fairly suppose that, prudential motives apart, his 
wit, far from being sharpened, had been numbed by 
despair and anguish at his humiliation. 

Immediately after the ceremony, copies of the sen- 
tence and the abjuration were dispatched to 
all the apostolic nuncios. The Inquisitor- 
General at Florence was ordered to read both docu- 
ments publicly in the hall of the Inquisition, and to 
serve notices to attend on all Galileo's disciples and 
adherents, and on all public professors. Thus Aggi- 
unti, Guiducci, and all who loved their master best, 
were made to paricipate in his humiliation. 

Not one of the decrees or orders relating to the trial 
of Galileo is officially ratified by the Pope. They all 
begin, it is true, with the words " Sanctissimus manda- 
vit," but, being without the Pope's signature, they are 
to be considered as merely representing the fallible 
judgment of an assembly of cardinals. This is equally 
the case with the decree of 1616 as with the sentence 

The sentence f l633< Ndther Paul V ' n r Urban VIIL 

not ratified ratified these documents by their signatures. 

by the official _. * 

signature of 1 his fact is too important to be lost sight of. 
If indeed Galileo was persecuted (as he him- 
self and all his followers believed), he was not perse- 
cuted by the Pope as infallible Vicar of Christ, but by 
Maffeo Barberini in his private capacity of a mean, 
irascible, vain man ; the instrument in his hands being 
a subservient Congregation of fallible cardinals. Even 


if we do not choose to style the proceedings against 
Galileo a persecution, the fact still remains that he 
was sentenced, that the Congregation were mistaken, 
and that he was punished unjustly. By Tiraboschi the 
Jesuit, and by many other writers belonging to the 
Church of Rome, this, so far from being considered as 
a misfortune, has been made a matter for exultation, as 
a peculiar manifestation of God's providence. The 
Vicar of Christ not having spoken ex cathedra, his 
infallibility could neither then nor in future ages be 
called in question. To Galileo, however, though he 
was a sincere Catholic, this view does not appear to 
have afforded any consolation. 

The names of ten cardinals appear in the preamble 
of the sentence. Of this number three ab- Tke sentence 
stained from signing the document. These 
were Gasparo Borgia, Laudivio Zacchia, and 
Francesco Barberini, the Pope's nephew. nals - 
The Pope had ordered everything, but had signed noth- 
ing. Thus he shifted the responsibility from his own 
shoulders to those of the Congregation, though he 
found a minority which refused to accept it. 

Besides the prohibition of the " Dialogue " it was de- 
creed that all Galileo's works, published and Ga m eo -> s 
unpublished, were to be placed on the " In- %%%$"* 
dex Expurgatorius." Thus did the Pope take dex - 
effectual measures for silencing a man whose intellect, 
compared to his own, was as the sun at noonday to the 
glimmer of a farthing candle ; thus was his wounded 
vanity soothed, and the triumph of the Jesuits complete. 

Ostensibly, however, his Holiness was still full of 
desire to mitigate the severity of the sentence of the 
Inquisition. The sentence of perpetual imprisonment 


was immediately commuted by him to a relegation to 
the Villa Medici, in the pleasant gardens of Trinita del 
Monte, where Galileo, years before, had shown a com- 
pany of wondering cardinals the satellites of Jupiter, 
and listened to the language of flattery from all those 
honeyed Roman tongues. " Thither I conducted him," 
Niccolini writes, 1 " and there he remains awaiting the 
clemency of his Holiness. He and Cardinal Barberino 
do not think it fit to grant a free pardon, but they will 
at all events allow him to go to the Archbishop's at 
Siena, or else to some convent in that city. I hear 
that Galileo has been much cast down at the punish- 
ment, of which he has just been informed. As to the 
book, he did not care for its being prohibited, and 
indeed had foreseen that it would be so." 

On the 3d of July, Niccolini saw the Pope again, and 
entreated that, as soon as the plague abated, Galileo 
Niccoiinfs m ight be allowed to live a prisoner in his 
negotiations. own house at Arcetd. But his Holiness said 
it was too soon to discuss further commutation as yet : 
to allow him to be a prisoner in the Archbishop's 
palace instead of in a convent was a great leniency. 
Cardinal Barberino added that he might attend Divine 
service in the cathedral. " God grant that we be in 
Galileo's time," Niccolini continues, "for he appears 
prostration, exceedingly distressed and afflicted, and ut- 
terly prostrate. And this tempest has not burst on 
Disgrace of mm a l ne > Riccardi, the Inquisitor at Flor- 
%?c7/rJI' ence > every one is to be punished who has 
and others. h a( j an y hand in licensing the book." Ciam- 
poli had been already disgraced and sent to Montalto, 
where he remained as long as he lived, Galileo's faith- 
ful friend to the last. 

1 Dispatch to Cioli, June 26, 1633. 


Sister Maria Celeste writes thus on the 2d of July : 
" The news of your fresh trouble has pierced sister Maria. 
my soul with grief; all the more that it came grief* 
upon me quite unexpectedly. From not having had a 
letter from you this week, I feared something must 
have happened, and importuned Signor Geri to tell 
me ; but what I hear from him of the resolution they 
have taken concerning you and your book gives me 
extremest pain, not having expected such a result. 
Dearest lord and father, now is the time for the exer- 
cise of that wisdom with which God has endowed you. 
Thus you will bear these blows with that fortitude of 
soul which religion, your age, and your profession alike 

Receiving no news from Galileo for some days after 
the promulgation of the sentence, Geri Bocchineri and 
Niccolo Aggiunti, fearing that their friend was incar- 
cerated, and that a domiciliary visit might be expected 
at the villa from the familiars of the Inquisition at 
Florence, requested the keys of the house from Sister 
Maria Celeste, that they might do what Galileo had 
before told them might be necessary to his safety, 
should certain contingencies arise. Sister Maria Ce- 
leste felt that she could not take upon her to withhold 
the keys. "They feared you were in trouble," she 
writes, with her usual caution ; 1 " and seeing how ex- 
ceedingly anxious they were on your account, it seemed 
to me right and necessary to prevent any accident 
which might possibly happen : therefore I gave them 
the keys, and permission to do as they thought fit" 
" Quest' opera," this piece of work hinted at, can 
scarcely have been any other than the consigning to 
1 Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, June 13, 1633. 


the flames such writings in Galileo's library as might 
Burmn of ^ Q use< ^ further to incriminate him. It is 
papers. probable that much which was precious was 
destroyed on this occasion : and this may fully account 
for the disappearace of those incompleted writings of 
which mention is made in Galileo's correspondence, 
but of which no trace remains. 1 

At length Galileo was allowed to leave Rome. He 
set out for Siena on the Qth of July. We learn from 
the letters of Ciampoli, of Cini, of Rinuccini, and c^f 
Archbishop Piccolomini, how great was the relief 
experienced by his friends on knowing that he was 
beyond the treacherous boundary of the Holy City. 
Arrival at At Siena every alleviation to his imprison- 
Siena. ment which true friendship could devise was 

freely placed at Galileo's service. To the Archbishop 
he was a beloved and venerated guest, not a prisoner 
whose acts and gestures were to be spied upon and 
reported to the Holy Office. 

"I wish," wrote Sister Maria Celeste on the i3th of 
Rejoicing at July, "that I could describe the rejoicing 
of all the mothers and sisters on hearin of 

your happy, arrival at Siena. It was indeed most 
extraordinary ! On hearing the news, Mother Abbess 

1 It is also possible that Galileo may have destroyed his unfin- 
ished writings with his own hands, on his citation to Rome in 
the October of 1632. He wrote to Cardinal Barberino at that 
' time : " When I think that the end of all my labors, after hav- 
ing gained for myself a name not obscure among the learned, 
has been finally to bring upon me a citation to appear before the 
tribunal of the Holy Office, ... I detest the remembrance 
of the time I have consumed in study. I regret ever having 
published what I wrote, and I have a mind to burn every compo- 
sition that I have yet by me." 


and many of the nuns ran to me, embracing me and 
weeping for joy and tenderness." 

The Archbishop's house was an earthly paradise, 
but the remembrance of the cruel edict condemning 
him to perpetual silence was a serpent-sting to Galileo. 
Even the society of his pious and benignant 
host could not soothe his wounded spirit 
always, or keep him from falling into fits of despond- 
ency, when he accused all his friends of having forgot- 
ten him. " My name is erased from the book of the 
living," he wrote in a moment of bitterness. " Nay," 
came Sister Maria Celeste's ready reply, " say not that 
your name is struck out de libro viventium. sister Ma- 

- . . ria Celeste's 

for it is not so ; neither in the greater part of letter. 
the world nor in your own country. Indeed it seems 
to me that if for a brief moment your name and fame 
were clouded, they are now restored to greater bright- 
ness ; at which I am much astonished, for I know that 
generally ' Nemo propheta acceptus est in patria sua.' 
I am afraid that if I begin quoting Latin I shall fall 
into some barbarism. But indeed you are loved and 
esteemed here more than ever." 

On the 23d of July we find Galileo entreating Nic- 
colini to use his influence with the Grand Duke to 
procure him permission to return to Florence. Nic- 
colini advised him to be patient. He was certain his 
Holiness would not give the permission yet, though 
he had not been able to get the reason from him. 

But it was hard for Galileo to be patient, when his 
daughter, in spite of her resignation to the Her i ongins 
Divine will, was consumed with longing to %$?' 
see him once more. CHer life was one con- iurn - 
tinual prayer for him. Yet, while ever thinking of his 


spiritual welfare not one whit did she abate of her dili- 
gence in looking after his worldly affairs. She tells him 
of the fruit and the wine which have been sold ; she 
keeps a strict account of his money. We learn that the 
vines had been injured by hail, that thieves had been in 
the garden, that " my lady mule " was behaving arro- 
gantly, and would carry no one now her master was 
away ; that a terrible storm had carried off one end of" 
the roof, and broken in pieces one of the vases which 
held the orange-trees. There were but few plums, and 
The garden ^ e wm ^ nac ^ carried away the pears. With 
at Arcetri. the money from the lemons, two lire, she had 
had three masses said for her father. " There are two 
pigeons in the dovecote waiting for you to come and 
eat them," she writes ; " there are beans in the garden 
waiting for you to gather them. Your tower is lament- 
ing your long absence. When you were in Rome, I 
a said to myself, If he were but at Siena ! 
. Now you are at Siena, I say, Would he were 
at Arcetri ! But God's will be done ! " Then hearing 
from Signor Rondinelli that the Ambassador's opinion 
had been against Galileo's supplication for further 
leniency, lest his judges should be utterly wearied and 
reply once for all in a decided negative, she restrains 
herself, and writes in this tone no longer, but tells her 
father not to wish to hurry away from Siena, where his 
prison is an earthly paradise. 

Yet before long she goes back to the old strain : l 

" If I do not make great demonstration of my desire 

to see you, it is because I do not wish to unsettle you, 

and make you more uneasy. I have been going about 

Her castles l ate ly making castles in the air, thinking 

in the air. to m y se lf whether after these two months' 

1 Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, August 20, 1633. 

1633-] PIERA'S MESSAGE. 263 

delay, if the pardon be not obtained, I might have re- 
course to the Ambassadress, to try whether she might 
not obtain it through her interest with his Holiness's 
sister-in-law. I know that this is but a castle in the 
air, yet still it is not quite impossible that the piteous 
prayers of a daughter might procure the favor of great 
personages (the Pope is probably meant). Now, think- 
ing this over, as I said, when your letter came telling 
me that one of the reasons why I desired your return 
was that I wanted a present you had for me, O then 
I can tell you I did get angry ! But such an anger as 
King David speaks of in the psalm, ' Irascimini et 
nolite peccare.' For it seemed to me that you thought 
I Ranted to see the present more than to see you ; 
which is as far from my thoughts as darkness is from 
light. Perhaps I did not quite understand your letter, 
and I try to keep quiet with that thought. But if 
indeed you meant that, I do not know what I should 
say or do. Do see if you cannot come back to your 
tower, which cannot bear to remain so desolate any 
longer ! And now, too, it is time to think about the 
wine-casks. They have been taken up to the loggia 
and taken to pieces by sentence of the best connois- 
seurs of the neighborhood, who declare that the reason 
the wine spoils is that you never have them taken to 
pieces in order to expose the wood to the heat of the 
sun. Piera can begin making bread again now that 
the weather is cooler. Of the eight crowns which I 
got from the wine, I spent three for six bushels of 
wheat. Piera begs to be remembered to you, and says 
that if her wish to see you and your wish to 
return were put in the scales, her scale would 
go down to the ground, and yours up to the ceiling. 


"I say no more, except that as soon as I have 
finished reading your last letter, I long for the next 
post to bring me another, particularly now that we 
hope for some news from Rome." 

Here is another little episode of the cloister life. 
Sister Polissena Vinta, an aged nun, sent to ask Galileo 
Episode of to find out whether a certain Emilio Picco- 
doister life. \Q^^ a son o f her niece who had married 
a Captain Carlo Piccolomini, was living at Siena. It 
appeared on inquiry that this was the case. Galileo 
had reminded this gentleman of the existence of his 
aged relative, and a message had been sent through 
him offering help if needful. " You may think for 
yourself/' wrote Sister Maria Celeste, " whether or 
not she is in want, being as she is nearly always ill 
in bed. She was extremely angry at the message sent 
through you, declaring that not only had Signor Emilio 
forgotten her, but that so had her niece, Signora Elis- 
abetta ; and she believes they all think her dead." 
Shortly afterwards Galileo received from this nun's 
rich relatives the magnificent sum of one crown to. 
transmit to her, for which, notwithstanding her previ- 
ous anger, the poor woman was thankful. 

As soon as the quarantine regulations were removed, 
Sister Maria Celeste sent the servant Geppo on the 
mule to Siena to see Galileo, and bring her back word 
how he was looking. " It seems to me a thousand 
years till I see you back again safe and well ! " she 
wrote after Geppo's return. 1 " I would not have you 
doubt that all this time I have never ceased from com- 
mending you to God with my whole heart, for indeed 
I feel too anxious for your spiritual and bodily health 
1 Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, October 3, 1633. 


ever to have neglected praying for you. To give you 
a proof,(T will tell you that as a great favor I managed 
to get a copy of your sentence shown me, and though 
on the one hand it grieved me to read it, yet on the 
other hand I was glad to have done so, because I 
found out a way of being of some slight use to you ; 
namely, by taking upon myself that part of the sen- 
tence which orders you to recite the seven Penitential 
Psalms once a week. I began to do this a while ago, 
and it gives me much pleasure ; first because I am 
persuaded that prayer in obedience to Holy Church 
must "be efficacious ; secondly, in order to save you 
the trouble of remembering it. If I had been able to 
do more, most willingly would I have entered a straiter 
prison than the one I live in now, if by so doing I 
could have set you at liberty." ~j 

In succeeding letters we hear of more convent tri- 
als. Sister Luisa was ill of an incurable nines* at st. 
complaint, and Sister Maria Celeste was in Mattheufs. 
daily and nightly attendance on her. Seven of the 
nuns were down in fever. Sister Maria Silvia, once 
the loveliest girl that had been seen in Florence for 
three hundred years, was dying of consumption at the 
age of twenty-two. Then we hear of poor 
neighbors sick and starving ; recommended, 
never in vain, as fit objects for her father's 
charity. From Siena the same kindness nnns - 
was shown to the convent as when Galileo was at 
Florence. He takes charge of divers small commis- 
sions, he forwards letters for the nuns who cannot pay 
the courier, buys cheap thread and saffron and flax 
for the Mother Abbess, chooses sonatas for the organ- 
ist, Mother Achilea ; he sends presents of gray par- 


tridges for the invalids, and cream-cheese, and the fa- 
mous panforte of Siena. 

At length the weariness and sickness of heart 
caused by hope deferred began to tell upon Sister Ma- 
ria Celeste. Worn by continual ill-health, by nightly 
watchings in the infirmary and daily occupations which 
could not be neglected, she would appear to have felt 
sisterMaria. a sac ^ presentiment of her approaching dis- 
Cciestjspre- solution. She strove gently to prepare her 

sentiment of & J * * 

for death. father, telling him that it was for him to live 
long to the service and glory of the God who had en- 
dowed him with such a wondrous intellect, and to the 
comfort of many by whom his loss would be severely 
felt. But as for her, she could neither do much for 
the glory of God, nor be of much good to any one, and 
her living or dying would make but little difference. 

That Galileo was allowed to leave Siena was owing 
not so much to the strong representations of Niccolini 
Anonymous as to the report given to the Pope by the 
spies who had dogged Galileo even within 
tne precincts of the archiepiscopal palace. 
Galileo^ Within the space of four months, they de- 

conduct at r ' J 

Siena. clared, Galileo had sown heretical opinions 
in Siena, which might bear pernicious fruit. Informa- 
tion had also been given that some of his adherents 
were writing in his defense. Niccolini assured the 
Pope that even if such were the case, which he did 
not believe, he could take upon himself to say that 
Galileo was entirely ignorant of it, and would be the 
first to desire that his friends should be silent on the 
subject. But the Pope probably felt that silence would 
best be secured by shutting Galileo up in the country 
rather than in a great city where his age and sufferings, 


even setting aside his fame, would naturally command 
the love and veneration of all who knew him. 

When at length the news reached Sister Maria 
Celeste that her father's prison had been changed to 
Arcetri, and that he would shortly set out on his re- 
turn, she had not life enough left in her to be glad. 
" I do not think," she wrote on the $d of December, 
1633, "that I shall live to see that hour. Yet may 
God grant it, if it be for the best." 

Her last prayer was granted. Before she lay down 
in her narrow bed side by side with her shterMaria 
sister nuns in the little convent cemetery, %%*' last 
she was allowed once more to embrace her slanted. 
dearest lord and father. The last we know of her 
may best be given in Galileo's own words to Elia 
Diodati. 1 " I stayed five months at Siena in the" 
house of the Archbishop j after which my prison was 
changed to confinement to my own house, that little 
villa a mile from Florence, with strict injunctions that 
^L was not to entertain friends, nor to allow the assem- 
bling of many at a time. Here I lived on very quietly, 
frequently paying visits to the neighboring convent, 
where I had two daughters who were nuns, and whom 
I loved dearly ; but the eldest in particular, who was a 
woman of exquisite mind, singular goodness, and most 
tenderly attached to me. She had suffered much from 
ill-health during my absence, but had not paid much 
attention to herself. At length dysentery came on, 
and she died after six days' illness, leaving me in deep 

affliction." Her death, 

USister Maria Celeste died on the ist of 
April, 1634.^7 

""T Galileo to Diodati, July 28, 1634. 


New Orders from Rome. The Pope a Tool in the Hands of the 
Jesuits. Rapid Decline of Galileo's Health. " Dialogues on 
Motion." Letters to the Duke of Peiresc and to the King of 
Poland. His Brother's Family. Discovery of the Moon's 
Libration. His Blindness. Deputation from Holland. 
Controversy with Liceti. His Declining Years. Death. 
Burial. Personal Appearance. Habits and Character. 

f ON the day when Galileo, heart-broken, was hourly 
/ awaiting the messenger to tell him that his daughter 
had breathed her last, a familiar of the Inquisition 
^appeared with an order from Rome. 

The pontifical decree permitting Galileo's return to 
Thepontif- Arcetri had been stringent even to harsh- 
icai decree. ness> ft was a condemnation to perpetual 
solitude, inspired by the Pope's remembrance of Gali- 
leo's keen enjoyment of wit that sparkled like Sa- 
gredo's, of clear and limpid philosophy such as Sal- 
viati's, of comedy such as Buonarroti's, nay, of honeyed 
compliment such as Maffeo Barberini, Cardinal, had 
delighted to render, in the by-gone days in which he 
had written Latin sonnets in Galileo's praise, and 
had condescended to. sign himself "his affectionate 
brother." No more of this should Galileo enjoy. 
" Conceditur habitatio in ejus rure," ran the edict of 
the ist of December, "mode tamen ibi, ut in soli- 
tudine, stet, nee vocet eo, nee venientes illuc recipiat 
ad collocutiones." 


Galileo, supposing that this harshness was merely 
nominal, and that a proper petition would be followed 
in due course by a removal of the restriction to 
Arcetri, had applied through Niccolini for permis- 
sion to go to his house at Florence. He was now 
informed that the result of any further application of 
this sort would be his instant consignment to the dun- 
geons of the Inquisition at Rome. "From this an- 
swer," he wrote to Diodati, " I may conclude that my 
present prison will only be changed for that last nar- 
row dwelling common to us all." * 

Though there is no doubt that Urban was actuated 
by personal ill-feeling, we must always re- The Po ^ e a 
member that, while the Congregation of the 
Holy Office were but instruments in the Jesuits. 
hands of the Pontiff, he in his turn was, without being 
aware of it, merely an instrument in the hands of the 
Jesuits. Father Griemberger, mathemati- opinion of 
cian of the Roman College, said openly, %?;',. 
that, if Galileo had only managed so as to J^./"^*" 
keep in the good graces of the Fathers, he demotion. 
would never have brought such trouble upon himself, 
but would have kept his name untarnished before the 
world, and might have continued writing on the Co- 
pernican theory had he so pleased. Thus his dis- 
grace was not due to his writings and opinions, but to 
his having stirred up the enmity of the Company of 
Jesus ; but even in the hour of his deepest despond- 
ency Galileo never, so far as we know, regretted hav- 
ing assumed an independent attitude towards that all- 
powerful Order. 

T Galileo's health and spirits declined so rapidly after 
1 Galileo to Elia Diodati, July 28, 1634. 


the death of his beloved daughter, that it seemed to him 
at first as if he were destined to follow her.TQl hear 
her constantly calling me," he wrote to Geri Bocchi- 
neri, 1 less than a month after her death. ~\ In the suc- 
ceeding portion of this letter we have a sad picture 
of the old man's desolation. From various alarming 
bodily symptoms, added to the call resounding in his 
ears, he believed himself to be dying. Vincenzio was 
living in Florence, in a house which his father had 
bought for him during his detention at Siena. " I 
Letter to du not think it at all advisable," he wrote, 

Geri Bocchi- ,, , TT . . , , . , . 

neri, " that Vincenzio should undertake a journey 

just now, when every hour something may occur which 
would render his presence necessary. I tell you this 
that you may tell him if you think fit ; not because I 
wish to disturb his plans, but because it seems to me 
that he ought to know. You, who can speak more 
firmly to him than I can, will say enough to make him 
, take the course which is most advisable. He has been 
asking for his allowance, twenty-five crowns. I in- 
I close it to you to forward to him, as I do not wish to 
! say a single word for him to turn and twist at his 

But Galileo was destined to live yet a few years 
longer. Full of labor and sorrow had his life been, 
and full of labor and sorrow was it to the end. 
Though broken down by grief for his daughter's 
death, the habits of industry acquired in youth could 
not be laid aside in old age. Work was more than a 
consolation ; it was a necessity to him. But he felt 
the gradual approach of mental decay. " My restless 
brain goes grinding on," he wrote to Micanzio, 2 " in 

1 Galileo to Geri Bocchineri, April 27, 1634. 

2 Galileo to Fra Fulgenzio Micanzio, November 19, 1634. 

1636.] "DIALOGUES ON MOTION." 271 

a way that causes great waste of time ; because the 
thought which comes last into my head in respect of 
some novelty, drives out all that had been there be- 
fore." He was then engaged in completing the " Dia- 
logues on Motion," wishing, as he told Diodati, that 
the world should see the last of his labors before his 
time of departure came. But as he wrote, thoughts 
crowded thick and fast upon him, so that his work in- 
creased, while each day lessened his span of life. 

The " Dialogues on Motion " were completed in the 
summer of 1636, and consigned to Louis Elzevir at 
Leyden for publication. Galileo dedicated T ^ French 
this, his last work, to his old pupil Noailles, 
who, in concert with another distinguished 
pupil, the Duke of Peiresc, had, while French ambas- 
sador at Rome, used all the influence he possessed to 
procure a mitigation of Galileo's sentence. A Latin 
translation of the letter to the Grand Duchess Chris- 
tina had been already printed at Paris. Elzevir con- 
templated publishing a Latin edition of all Galileo's 
works, with the exception of the ill-fated " Dialogue ; " 
but this project was subjected to various delays, and 
at last the author's death prevented its accomplish- 
ment. Pierre Carcaville, a counselor of the Parlia- 
ment of Toulouse, generously offered to undertake the 
publication of all the " Dialogues " at his own cost ; 
but his offer was not accepted, as Galileo then consid- 
ered himself engaged to Elzevir. The Dutch edition 
of the " Dialogues " was surreptitiously introduced into 
Italy, with great success. 

Galileo wrote to Micanzio that, besides the copies 
usually supplied to the author, he desired to buy a 
hundred more, as they were not to be got anywhere ; 


while there was such a demand for them, that he had 
known six crowns to be given for a copy, more than 
six times its original price ; and he had often been 
obliged to have manuscript copies made, at great 
trouble and expense. 

The condemned " Dialogue " had already been 
translated into the English tongue, to the gratification 
of its author, and the rage and mortification of the 
Jesuits. Mention is made in Galileo's correspondence 
of the frequent visits of foreigners ( Oltramontani) j 
amongst others of an English gentleman who had in- 
formed him of the " Dialogue " being read in Eng- 
land. 1 It is a significant fact, and one which was not 
lost sight of by Galileo and his friends, that a perusal 
of his sentence was sufficient to establish his guiltless- 
ness in the opinion of foreigners who had first heard 
the Jesuits' side of the question. 

No sooner were the " Dialogues on Motion " revised 

1 The following reference to Galileo cannot fail to be read 
with interest. It is to be found in. Milton's Areopagitica (which 
is a discourse addressed to the Lords and Commons against 
requiring all printed books to be licensed). " I could recount 
what I have seen and heard in other countries, where this kind 
of inquisition tyrannizes ; where I have sat among their lerned 
(sic) men, for that honour I had, and bin (sic) counted happy to 
be born in such a place of Philosophic Freedom, as they sup- 
pos'd England was, while themselves did nothing but bemoan 
the servil condition into which Lerning amongst them was 
brought ; that this was it which had dampt the glory of Italian 
wits ; that nothing had been there writt'n now these many 
years but flattery and fustian. There it was that I found and 
visited the famous Galileo, grown old, a prisner to the Inquisition 
for thinking in Astronomy otherwise than the Franciscan and 
Dominican Licencers thought." Milton went to Italy on the 
death of his mother in 1637, and returned in 1639. 

1636.] FALSE REPORTS. 273 

and out of his hands, than Galileo's busy brain began 
to form new projects. " If I live," he wrote to Ber- 
negger at Strasburg, " I intend to put in order a series 
of natural and mathematical problems, which I trust 
will be as curious as they are novel." 1 

But though, as appears from his correspondence, 
he was fully determined to print his works abroad, he 
had no longer the option of refuting the falsities pro- 
mulgated industriously throughout Italy by the Jesuits 
concerning his life and opinions. As soon 

. Intercession 

as it was prudent to introduce the subject, made for 
Noailles and Cardinal Antonio Barberino, 
the Pope's brother, had spoken to his Holi- 
ness in Galileo's favor. "They endeav- Barberln - 
ored," wrote Galileo to Micanzio in July, 1636, "to 
assure his Holiness that I had never had such an 
iniquitous thought as to vilipend his person, as my 
wretched enemies had persuaded him ; which was the 
primo motor of all my troubles. At length he pro- 
nounced my exculpation, saying : ' We believe it, we 
believe it :"> adding, nevertheless, that the reading of 
the ' Dialogue ' was most pernicious to Christianity." 
Thus the embargo remained in full force. To be 
acquitted of the charge of intentional disrespect was 
as much and more than Galileo could expect of the 
Pope's infallibility ; on the other hand, his Holiness 
could afford to express his belief in Galileo's inno- 
cence, since he was determined never to give him any 
further opportunity of being heard. How great was 
the power of the Jesuits then and later, is evident 
from the tone taken by Viviani in 1654, in describing 
this portion of Galileo's life. It being impossible to 
1 Galileo to Mathias Bernegger, July 15, 1636. 


deny the fact of the publication of his master's works 
vivianfs * n Germany and Holland, Viviani thinks it 
insincerity, necessary to add what was positively untrue : 
"that this publication was unauthorized, and that 
Galileo was extremely displeased and mortified on 
hearing of it, as his writings contained much that he 
would willingly have altered or expunged, since he 
had abandoned the Copernican doctrine as became a 
good Catholic." 

" In order to show his gratitude," Viviani continues, 
" to that Providence which had mercifully opened his 
eyes to so great an error, Galileo ceased not to pro- 
mulgate other discoveries of great importance." 

How deep in reality was the undercurrent of bitter- 
ness in Galileo's heart when stirred by the remem- 
brance of the Jesuits' machinations, his correspond- 
ence at this period, of which we give two examples, 
sufficiently shows. The first is a letter to Peiresc. 1 

" I have said, my lord, that I hope for no allevia- 
tion ; and this is because I have committed no crime. 
If I had erred, I might hope to obtain grace and par- 
don ; for the transgressions of the subject are the 
means by which the prince finds occasion for the exer- 
cise of mercy and indulgence. Wherefore, when a 
man is wrongly condemned to punishment, it becomes 
necessary for his judges to use the greater severity, in 
order to cover their own misapplication of the law. 
This afflicts me less than people may think possible ; 
for I possess two sources of perpetual comfort : first, 
that in my writings cannot be found the faintest shadow ' 
of irreverence toward Holy Church j secondly, the tes- 
timony of my own conscience, which I myself alone 
1 Galileo to the Duke of Peiresc, February 21, 1636. 


know thoroughly, besides God in heaven. And He 
knoweth that in this cause for which I suffer, though 
many men might have spoken more learnedly, none, 
not even the ancient fathers, have spoken with more 
piety, nor with greater zeal for Holy Church, than I. 
Could all the frauds, the calumnies, the stratagems, the 
deceits, which were made use of at Rome eighteen 
years ago for the purpose of imposing upon the su- 
preme authority, could all these, I say, be brought 
to light, their only effect would be to enhance the 
purity and uprightness of my intentions. But you, 
having read my works, will have seen how they justify 
my assertions of sincerity, and you will have under- 
stood the true cause for which, under the mask of re- 
ligion, I have been persecuted, and which now con- 
tinually assails me and crosses my path ; so that no 
help can come to me from without, nor can I myself 
undertake my own defense. For all the inquisitors 
have received express orders to allow neither the re- 
printing of such works of mine as were published 
many years ago, nor to grant a license to any fresh 
work which I may desire to publish. Thus I am 
not only forced to keep silence towards those who 
strive to distort my doctrine and make my ignorance 
manifest, but I must also bear the insults and the con- 
tempt and the bitter taunts of men more ignorant than 
myself, without proffering a word in my own defense. 
... My heart thanks you better than my words can 
express, for the most pious and humane office which 
you have undertaken on my behalf. May the Lord 
reward you for your kindness." 

This was in allusion to Peiresc's endeavor to obtain 
a removal of his restriction to Arcetri. In the same 


strain of bitterness he wrote to Ladislaus, King of 
Poland, in 1637. 

"I send your Majesty three lenses, according to 
Letter to * ne command which I received in your most 
K^ l of s ' gracious letter. I have endeavored to the 
Poland. utmost of my ability to serve your Majesty 
well in this matter ; but I am in prison here, and 
have been for the last three years, by order of the 
Holy Office, for having printed the ' Dialogue ' on 
the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems ; though I had 
the license of the Holy Office, that is, of the Master 
of the Sacred Palace of Rome. I know that some 
copies of the said books have penetrated your Maj- 
esty's dominions ; and your Majesty and such of 
your subjects as call themselves scientific men may 
have judged whether or not it be true that my book 
contains doctrine more scandalous, more detestable, 
and more pernicious than is to be found in the writ- 
ings of Luther, Calvin, and all other heresiarchs put 
together ! Nevertheless, the Pope's mind has been 
so strongly imbued with this idea, that the book has 
been prohibited, and I put to utter shame, and con- 
demned to imprisonment during his Holiness's pleas- 
ure, which will be perpetual. But where doth passion 
transport me ? Let me go back to the lenses." 

Such bursts of anger as the above alternated with 
fits of deep melancholy. " Alas ! " he exclaims to 
Micanzio, "tristis senectus ! " In 1634 his sister-in- 
law, Clara Galilei, with her three daughters and one 
son, came to live with him ; but they all perished in 
the plague shortly after their arrival. Some time 
after their deaths, finding the solitude of his house 
at Arcetri insupportable, Galileo desired his nephew 


Alberto to come and live with him. This boy had 
lost the little his mother had had to leave him, in the 
sack of Munich, and was maintaining himself and 
his young brother Cosmo on the scanty stipend he 
gained as violinist and lute-player to the Elector. 
He appears to have been of a far different disposition 
to his worthless brother Vincenzio. Galileo kept him 
for some time, but he finally returned to Munich, 
married, and reentered the service of the Elector ; so 
that the old man was again alone. 

In 1637, just before his sight failed him, Galileo 
made his last celestial discovery, known as Discovery of 

, , ,., TT . * . inemootvs 

the moon s hbration. His observations ubration. 
were embodied in a treatise, in the form of a letter to 
Antonini. The only other notice of this discovery is 
in a letter to Micanzio. Sadly different is its tone to 
that of his letter to Vinta in 1610, in which he speaks 
with mingled awe and exultation of his discovery of 
Jupiter's satellites. " I see," he wrote, 1 " that you 
suppose I have not given up speculating. It is true. 
I do go on speculatingj but to the great prejudice 
of my health ; for thinking, joined to various other 
molestations, destroys my sleep, and increases the 
melancholy of my nights ; while the pleasure which 
I have taken hitherto in making observations on new 
phenomena is almost entirely gone. I have observed 
a most marvelous appearance on the surface of the 
moon. Though she has been looked at such millions 
of times by such millions of men, I do not find that 
any have observed the slightest alteration in her sur- 
face, but that exactly the same side has always been 
supposed to be represented to our eyes. Now I find 
1 Galileo to Fra Fulgenzio Micanzio, November 7, 1637. 


that such is not the case, but on the contrary that she 
changes her aspect, as one who, having his full face 
turned towards us, should move it sideways, first to 
the right and then to the left, or should raise and then 
lower it, and lastly incline it first to the right, then to 
the left shoulder. All these changes I see in the 
moon ; and the large, anciently known spots which 
are seen in her face, may help to make evident the 
truth of what I say. Add to this a second marvel, 
which is that these three mutations have their three 
several periods; the first daily, the second monthly, 
the third yearly. Now what connection does your 
Reverence think these three lunar periods may have 
with the daily, monthly, and annual movement of the 
sea ? which is ruled over by the moon, by the consent 
of all." 

This was the last of the long list of discoveries 
Galileo was permitted to make. His sight rapidly 
decayed, and blindness was soon added to his other 
miseries. " I have been in my bed for five weeks," he 
wrote to Diodati, 1 while there still remained a vestige 
of hope that the blindness might not prove incurable, 
" oppressed with weakness and other infirmities from 
which my age, seventy-four years, permits me not to 
hope release. Added to this (proh dolor /) the sight 
of my right eye that eye whose labors (I dare say 
it) have had such glorious results is forever lost. 
That of the left, which was and is imperfect, is ren- 
dered null by a continual weeping." 

" Alas ! " he wrote again to the same friend a few 
Galileo's m onths later, 2 "your dear friend and ser- 
biindness. vant Galileo has been for the last month 
1 Galileo to Diodati, July 4, 1637. 2 January 2, 1638. 

1638.] HIS BLINDNESS. 279 

hopelessly blind ; so that this heaven, this earth, this 
universe, which I by my marvelous discoveries and 
clear demonstrations had enlarged a hundred thou- 
sand times beyond the belief of the wise men of by- 
gone ages, henceforward for me is shrunk into such a 
small space as is filled by my own bodily sensations." 
But when his blindness was known to be without 
earthly remedy, then complaint ceased, and, instead 
of enlarging on his misery of mind and body, he only 
desired his friends to remember him in their prayers. 
On two occasions only was Galileo permitted to quit 
Arcetri: once in the spring of I638, 1 when he was per- 

1 " In order to fulfill more entirely the command of his Holi- 
ness," wrote the Inquisitor Fanano to Cardinal Francesco 
Barberini, on the I3th of February, 1638, " I went myself when 
I was not expected, accompanied by a foreign physician who 
was in my confidence, in order to observe Galileo's way of living 
at Arcetri, feeling persuaded that I should thus be able to judge, 
not so much of the kind of complaint or complaints he may 
have, as of his present studies, and of those who frequent his 
house, with whose aid he might hold gatherings in Florence, 
and discourses wherein to disseminate his condemned opinion 
respecting the earth. I found him totally blind, and, though he 
himself hopes for a recovery, his physician considers that his 
age renders the disease incurable. Besides the blindness, he 
suffers terribly from hernia, has continual pains all over his body, 
and suffers, as he himself declares (and those of his household 
confirm him), to such a degree from sleeplessness, that he never 
sleeps a whole hour together in the twenty-four. Moreover, he 
is so prostrate, that he looks more like a corpse than a living 
person. The villa is distant from the city, and so inconveniently 
situated that the attendance of a physician is a difficulty and an 
expense to him. Blindness has put an end to his studies, though 
he has himself read to now and then. People do not visit him 
as much as formerly, for since his health has been so broken, he 
does nothing as a rule but complain, and relate his symptoms to 
those around him. I think, therefore, that if his Holiness were 


mitted to be in Florence for a very short time for the 
purpose of consulting the best physicians, but on 
condition only of not attempting to visit, or receive 
his friends freely ; in spite of which, one at least 
Michelangelo Buonarroti ventured to visit him. 
The only other occasion was when he went to pay his 

to show his infinite pity by giving him permission to go to Flor- 
ence, there would be no reason to fear the assembling of a great 
concourse of people at his house. And if there were any such 
fear, he is so prostrate that a good admonition would be quite 
sufficient to keep him within bounds." 

Galileo had been ordered to present himself at the Holy Office 
to receive oral directions concerning his conduct. " I signified 
to him," wrote the Inquisitor to Cardinal Barberini, on the loth 
of March, 1638, "the favor accorded him by our Lord (Pope) 
and the Sacred Congregation, to have himself carried from his 
villa at Arcetri to his house in Florence, for the purpose of 
medical treatment. I have ordered him not to go out into the 
city under pain of imprisonment and excommunication ; and 
have forbidden him to discourse with any one on his condemned 
opinion of the earth's motion. He is now seventy-four years of 
age, and brought so low by his blindness and other complaints, 
that we may easily believe his promise not to transgress this 
command. Moreover, his house is in a most out-of-the-way 
place, far away from any habitation ; it can scarcely be said to 
be in the city. Besides this, he has a son, a civil, honest man, 
who is constantly with him, and whom I have admonished not 
to admit any suspected person to speak to his father, and to see 
that those who do visit him do not stop too long. I feel certain 
that he (the son) will take heed that nothing happen to induce 
a revocation of his Holiness's permission, for it is to his interest 
that his father should take care of himself and live as long as 
possible, since the Grand Duke's pension of one thousand crowns 
ceases on his death. Notwithstanding, I shall watch narrowly 
to see that his Holiness's commands are carried out. Galileo 
has entreated me to forward his request for permission to be 
carried to hear mass at a little church distant twenty paces from 
his house ; this I do accordingly." 


respects to the Comte de Noailles at Poggibonsi. 
Once or twice he visited the Grand Duke at Petraia 
with great secrecy, going from Arcetri in a close car- 
riage in the early morning, and returning late at night. 
But after 1638 it does not appear that he attempted 
to quit the precincts of his villa ; and indeed, increased 
feebleness, if nothing else, would have kept him a 

In 1636 Galileo had addressed himself to the States- 
General of Holland, offering them freely, and without 
hope of reward, his method of determining the longi- 
tude by means of Jupiter's satellites, the tables of whose 
motions had been accurately ascertained through his 
unceasing observations from the moment of their dis- 
covery to 1632. Elia Diodati took charge of the ne- 
gotiation, which was also furthered by the patronage 
and recommendations of Hugo Grotius, then ambassa- 
bor for Sweden at the French Court. The States- 
General were more favorably inclined to the method 
than the Spanish Government had been. They named 
four commissioners to examine its merits, and voted 
the sum of a thousand francs for the purchase of the 
instruments necessary to verify its accuracy and utility. 
But delay followed delay, and it was not till The states- 
the August of 1638 that a deputation was ^TepZlatfd 
sent to Arcetri to confer with Galileo in per- toArcetr - 
son, on behalf of the States. Hortensius, one of the 
commissioners, had wished to form one of the dep- 
utation, but was dissuaded from his plan by Gal- 
ileo's desire, news having reached him from Rome of 
the displeasure which the knowledge of his negotia- 
tion with the States had given to the Holy Office. 
The deputation, consisting of two merchants, the 


brothers Ebors, went to Arcetri bearing a letter from 
the States, and a gold chain, sent as a mark of re- 
spect. They found the old man in bed, blind and 
grievously afflicted. He requested them to read the 
letter aloud, and to give him the box containing the 
chain. Taking it in his hands, he desired them to 
thank the States for their courtesy. The box and the 
letter he kept. The chain he returned to the deputa- 
tion, saying he did not think proper to keep it, seeing 
that in consequence of his blindness and increasing 
infirmities, the negotiation which had so long lan- 
guished must be for a time, and perhaps forever, at a 
standstill. Seeing, however, in the fact of the States 
having sent this deputation, a proof of their desire to 
adopt his method, Galileo on his recovery put all his 
writings on the satellites into the hands of Renieri, in 
order that the revision of the tables and ephemeris 
might be performed with that nicety of which his 
blindness rendered him no longer capable. 

But before this could be done, three of the commis- 
Deathof sioners, Real, Blauw, and Goll, died; and 
f co u mm ch their deaths were followed by that of Hor- 
sionen. tensius in April, 1639 ; so that this plan was 
abandoned. In the beginning of the succeeding year, 
Constantine Huyghens, Secretary of the Prince of 
Orange, undertook to renew the correspondence with 
the States-General, who seemed, after the death of the 
four commissioners, to have forgotten Galileo's exist- 
ence, and Borel, Counselor of the Provinces and Pen- 
sioner of Amsterdam, was requested to remind them 
of the long-pending negotiation ; but though the tables 
of the periods of the satellites had been examined and 
approved of by many astronomers, yet their approba- 


tion was insufficient to dispel the coldness of the 
Dutch Government ; and Galileo was at length forced, 
though unwillingly, to abandon all hope of his dis- 
covery of the satellites being put to that use of which 
he for such a number of years had fondly imagined 
it to be capable. 

The last work of Galileo's old age was a short trea- 
tise on the secondary light of the moon, in which he 
combated the opinion of Liceti, a professor Licetfs 
of Padua, who held that the moon was phos- * moo*> 
phorescent, like the Bologna stone. This ** r 
treatise was written by Prince Leopold's desire, he hav- 
ing observed that Liceti had, in his work " De Lapide 
Bononiensi," impugned many of Galileo's opinions. 
This proceeding, though cowardly enough, consider- 
ing that Liceti knew that Galileo was prevented from 
answering him publicly, was aggravated by his impu- 
dent misquotation of various passages in Galileo's pro- 
hibited works. In some of his private letters on this 
subject, Galileo makes touching allusions to the in- 
convenience he suffered from his blindness. 

" I am obliged to have recourse to other hands and 
other pens than mine since my sad loss of sight," he 
wrote to Prince Leopold. 1 " This, of course, occa- 
sions great loss of time, particularly now that my 
memory is impaired by advanced age; so that in 
placing my thoughts on paper, many and many a time 
I am forced to have the foregoing sentences read to 
me before I can tell what ought to follow ; else I 
should repeat the same thing over and over. Your 
Highness may take my word for it, that between using 
one's own eyes and hands and those of others there 
1 Galileo to Prince Leopold de' Medici, March 13, 1640. 


is as great a difference as in playing chess with one's 
eyes open or blindfold." 

Without entering into the merits of the controversy 
(about which, indeed, there is no doubt), it is worth 
while to notice the contrast presented by the tone 
taken throughout by Galileo to that held by Liceti. 
In Galileo's correspondence the stately courtesy be- 
coming a philosopher and a gentleman is never once 
abandoned. In writing, even to his most intimate 
friends, he mentions Liceti in becoming terms, and 
alludes to his violent opposition only with the kind of 
amused contempt which could be expressed without 
derogating from his own dignity. On the other hand, 
not only did Liceti contradict and misquote his writ- 
ings and opinions, but he even ventured to address 
the aged astronomer in a manner which is unequaled 
for its arrogance by any other of Galileo's bitterest 
opponents. Even the commonest phrases of courtesy 
Licet?* are wanting: the " Vossignoria," used to ex- 

want of , /,-, i 

courtesy. press the curt " you, is nearly always pre- 
termitted ; the usual phrase, " le bacio le mani," left 
out at the end, which, though not rigorously neces- 
sary, might well have proceeded from the pen of a 
man comparatively young, like Liceti, in writing to 
one so venerable as Galileo. Liceti's correspondence, 
so far from showing common respect, often takes a 
tone as from a superior to an inferior. He even ven- 
tures to allude in terms of contempt to Galileo's blind- 
ness. Displeased at the old man's judgment on some 
passages in his book, " De Lapide," he says : " I appeal 
to those who have their own hands to write with, and 
their own eyes to see with. Learned men are in the 
habit of not easily believing those whose opinions are 

1640.] ANSWER TO LICETL 285 

in opposition to their own, therefore I am not in the 
least surprised that you should consider my arguments 
easily disposed of. As to our differences of opinion, 
had I considered your dicta frivolous, I should never 
have deigned to give them a moment's consideration." 
" If you order diligent search to be made for the 
book I sent you, ' De Luminis,' etc., doubtless it will be 
found either at the Custom-house or at the courier's." * 

" The book which your lordship's most illustrious 
excellency has done me the honor to send," Gauieo^san- 
Galileo wrote in reply, 2 " has at length been Liceti. 
found. I have sent it to be bound, and as soon as I 
get it back I will have it read to me. I hope that 
with its help I shall shortly be able to understand 
what many and many hundred hours of thinking 
have yet not made me capable of understanding: 
to wit, the essence of light, as to which I have al- 
ways been in darkness Though it has pleased 

you to quote and amend various opinions of mine, 
which I still hold to be most true, nevertheless I 
trust that I shall never be induced to mention your 
writings except -with proper praise ; though, indeed, 
from my advanced age and unhappy state, it is proba- 
ble that I may be able to speak but little, and write 
less, if indeed I am able to write anything." 

With this exception Galileo's last years were soothed 
by the affection and devotion of his friends, and the 
homage of all to whom his name was known. The 
Grand Duke frequently visited him, and replenished 
his cellar with the best of wines. Besides the crea- 
ture comforts which were thus supplied to him and 

1 Liceti to Galileo, June 8, 1640. 

2 Galileo to Liceti, August 25, 1640. 


Archbishop Piccolomini must not be forgotten as a 
contributor to these Galileo had the better comfort 
of once more meeting with his old friend Castelli, and 
discoursing with that learned and truly pious man on 
the things of that world to which they both were 

Viviani lived in his house, and was to him as a son. 
Towards the last Torricelli was joined to him as 
amanuensis and companion. Galileo had formed the 
plan of adding two chapters, or conversations, to the 
Galileo's " Dialogues on Motion," with various addi- 
last-work. tions and illustrations to those already pub- 
lished. He intended the last of these new chapters to 
be devoted to the consideration of the nature of the 
force of percussion, in which he believed he had dis- 
covered facts at least as marvelous as any published 
in his former works. But these labors were inter- 
rupted by an attack of low fever, accompanied by pal- 
pitation of the heart. After two months' suffering, 
borne with most philosophic and Christian 

His death. x r 

fortitude, he gave back his soul into the Crea- 
tor's hands on the evening of the 8th of January, 1642. 
In addition to such details of Galileo's life as have 
already been given, the following may not be without 

In his will, made in 1638, he had ordered that his 
body was to be buried in the family vault at 
Santa Croce. His son Vincenzio was left sole 
heir : to his daughter, Sister Arcangela, he gave an an- 
nuity of twenty-five crowns : to his nephews Alberto 
and Cosmo, then living at Munich, he bequeathed a 
thousand crowns ; which bequest, however, was re- 
voked in a codicil added the same year. He willed 

1642.] THE FUNERAL. 287 

that any of his descendants who might enter into a 
religious Order were to be by such act deprived of 
the enjoyment of such property as he otherwise be- 
queathed to them. In the event of his son's death 
during the minority of his grandchildren, their mother, 
Sestilia Bocchineri, was to be guardian conjointly with 
Mario Guiducci. 

Not only was Galileo's power of making a will dis- 
puted, but the propriety of laying his body in conse- 
crated ground was loudly questioned by some fanatics, 
who could only see in the career of this great man 
the one fact that he had died vehemently suspected 
of heresy. A legal consultation as to his power of 
making a will was, fortunately for his family, decided 
in his favor. It was also ruled by the legal authori- 
ties consulted on the occasion, that the survivors had a 
full right to place his body in consecrated ground. 

The corpse was therefore brought from Arcetri to 
Santa Croce, and preparations were made 

for such a funeral as might best show the ' 

sense of the Court and the whole city of the greatness 
of their loss. The sum of three thousand crowns was 
quickly voted to cover the expense of a marble mauso- 
leum. This and other particulars were instantly re- 

ported tO the Holy Office at Rome. The Interference 

Ambassador of Tuscany received orders to "office. 
communicate to the Grand Duke the Pope's opinion 
that his intention concerning Galileo's remains would, 
if carried out, prove most pernicious, and that he must 
remember that the said Galileo during his life had 
caused scandal to all Christendom by his false and 
damnable doctrine. Niccolini advised that the proj- 
ect both of a public funeral oration and a mausoleum 


be laid aside, at least for a time ; since, as the Pope 
claimed to be absolute master of all consecrated 
ground, it was likely that, by persevering to honor 
Galileo's remains so signally, the Grand Duke might 
draw down upon himself some such affront as had 
happened to the Duke of Mantua, on the occasion of 
the removal of the body of Countess Matilda, which it 
had been the Pope's pleasure to place in St. Peter's. 

The Inquisition was all eyes and ears, fearing that 
the city would at least insist on the public funeral. 
The Inquisitor of Florence, Fanano, wrote to assure 
Cardinal Barberino, that, should it be absolutely im- 
possible to prevent this, he would at least take care to 
follow out any orders which he might receive from 
Rome concerning the funeral oration and the epitaph. 

So powerful was the opposition, that the Grand 
Duke felt himself forced to bend to it. The idea of 
both public funeral and monument was entirely laid 
aside, and the friends of the great philosopher were 
Galileo's constrained to lay his beloved remains apart, 
fte*. in the chapel Del Noviziato, at the end of 

the corridor leading from the south transept to the 
great sacristy of Santa Croce. There, in an obscure 
corner on the Gospel side of the altar, the body rested 
for nearly a century, only rescued from oblivion by the 
epitaph placed by Pierozzi in 1656 ; to which was 
added what, indeed, for the honor of Florence might 
have well been wished away namely, the bust of Gal- 
ileo in clay, painted in imitation of marble. 

Vincenzio Viviani, determined to do public homage 
Vivian?* to his master's memorv, and at the same 

detertnina- . ...'',.,, , r 

tion to baffle time baffle the Inquisition, devised the plan of 

the Inquisi- . . _ , - , . . . TT . 

tion. covering the facade of his own house in Via 

I693-I737-] THE MONUMENT. 289 

delP Amore with laudatory inscriptions to the memory 
of Galileo. This, however, he did not venture to carry 
into effect till 1693. The bronze bust of the philoso- 
pher, which was placed at the same time as the in- 
scriptions, was cast from a model in terra cotta, taken 
in 1611 by Caccini the sculptor, by desire of Cosmo 
II. when Galileo was in his prime. 

Viviani died in 1703. By his will his property de- 
scended to his nephew Panzanini and his successors, 
charged with the condition of erecting a proper monu- 
ment to Galileo in Santa Croce as soon as permission 
could be obtained to do so. Panzanini died in 1733, 
and the property passed to Nelli, then a Erection of 

. . the monu- 

very young man, who, in 1737, carried out mentin 

T . ., . _, i .1 -r SantaCroce, 

Viviams pious intention, during the pontin- i 737 . 
cate of Clement XII. (Lorenzo Corsini), a Florentine. 
Viviani says of Galileo that he was of cheerful and 
pleasant countenance, especially in his old Galileo's 

i t 11 . i -, personal ap- 

age ; square built, well proportioned, and pearance. 
rather above the middle height. His eyes were bril- 
liant, and his hair was of a reddish hue. His consti- 
tution was naturally robust, but fatigue of mind and 
body occasioned various complaints by which he was 
often greatly reduced. He was subject to attacks of 
hypochondria, and was molested by many acute and 
dangerous illnesses, occasioned in great measure by 
his sleepless nights spent in celestial observations. 
For more than forty years of his life he was subject to 
severe attacks of rheumatism, and latterly to gout. 
Yet notwithstanding such a multitude of complaints as 
would have made a miserable valetudinarian of any 
other man, Galileo's industry was as remarkable as his 
genius : it was said that none had ever seen him idle. 


There is evidence of the importance he attached to 
constant occupation, in his daughter's letters. Though 
his to her are lost, we can often guess the context by 
her answers. She frequently mentions all her differ- 
ent duties, adding that she knows he will be pleased 
to hear, that she has not an idle moment throughout the 
day, and that she daily finds the truth of his saying, 
that occupation is the best medicine for mind and 

Galileo was fond of a country residence j he was 
His love of f P m i n that the city was in a manner the 
the country. p r i son of speculative genius j that in the 
country alone was the book of Nature open to him 
who cared to read and learn from it ; he declared that 
the characters in which that book was written were 
those of geometry, and that, when once they were re- 
vealed, we might hope to penetrate Nature's deepest 
mysteries. His library was small, but such books as 
were in it were of the best : though he recommended 
the study of the ancient philosophers, he was wont to 
say that the principal doors into the garden of natu- 
ral philosophy were observation and experiment, which 
could be opened with the keys of our senses. 

Though he loved the quiet of a country residence, 
Galileo^ he was not the less fond of having the soci- 

sociable dis- r , . r . , , 11* i 

position. ety of his friends, to whom he dispensed a 
hospitality equally removed from parsimoniousness and 
from extravagance. He never took a meal alone if 
he could have company. He was considered to be a 
great connoisseur in wines, and was diligent in tend- 
ing and pruning his own vineyard ; gardening in all 
its branches was his favorite and almost sole relaxa- 
tion from the severe studies which consumed his days 


and nights. His demeanor was modest and unassum- 
ing : he neither depreciated nor envied the talent of 
other men, but gave to all their due, and more than 
their due. Of self-praise so much is recorded of him 
by Gherardini, that, when his eyesight was decaying 
day by day, he endeavored to take comfort by saying 
that of all the sons of Adam none had seen . , 

fits on-iy 

so much as he. He never spoke of Aristotle boast - 
in terms of contempt, as was the custom with some of 
his followers ; but contented himself by saying that he 
did not find his method of reasoning satisfactory. Of 
Kepler, whose extravagance was evident, he said, on 
being pressed for his opinion, that he was undoubtedly a 
great philosopher, but that his mode of philosophizing 
was vastly different to his own. He exalted Plato to 
the skies, calling his eloquence " golden." He also 
praised Pythagoras as unequaled among philosophers, 
but Archimedes was the only one of the ancients 
whom he called "master." He was extremely fond 
of the writings of Ariosto, and was accustomed to say 
that reading Tasso after Ariosto was like eating cu- 
cumbers after melons. Endowed with great tenacity 
of memory, he could repeat by heart a great His great 
part of the works of Virgil, Ovid, Horace, mtmory. 
and Seneca ; the sonnets of Petrarch, the rime of Berni, 
and the heroic stanzas of Ariosto, in whose " Gerusa- 
lemme Liberata " he found new beauties each time he 
read it. Not to make the list of his attainments too 
long, we may say that there was no art, sci- His versatil , 
ence nor handicraft in which he was not supe- u y- 
rior to the generality of men professing them. He pro- 
tested that he had never met with a man so ignorant 
but that something might be learnt from him. He 


was wont to say that it was the privilege of the sad 
not to be envied by the merry, and of the wicked not 
to be envied by the good. He was easily moved to 
His temper anger, but more easily pacified. His com- 
"wit. rec pany was much desired and sought after, for 
his ready wit and pleasant discourse adorned even the 
most trifling subject brought forward. As a professor he 
was no less loved and valued than as a friend. How- 
ever clear a subject might be to his own mind, he was 
not satisfied till he had made it as clear to the minds 
of his pupils. " From Signor Galileo," wrote Marsili, 
professor at Pisa in 1637, "I learnt more in three 
months than I did in as many years from other men." 
Such grateful testimony as the above is not wanting. 
" I thank God," said Paolo Aproino, " for having 
given me for a master the greatest man the world has 
ever seen." "When," wrote Ciampoli, after his retire- 
ment in disgrace to Montalto in 1634, "when shall I 
embrace you as a father, and listen to you as to an 
oracle ! " 

Pages might be filled with expressions of gratitude 
His pupils* an d affection such as these, culled from the 
a andg?!- correspondence of Galileo's disciples. And 
tude. truly the great master himself might adjudge 

them to be of higher value as a testimony to his merit, 
than the marble monument under which his body now 
lies in Santa Croce. 


OF THE YEAR 1633. 

We, Gasparo of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Borgia ; 

Fra Felice Centino of S. Anastasia, called Ascoli j 

Guido of Santa Maria del Popolo, Bentivoglio ; 

Fra Desiderio Scaglia of S. Carlo, called di Cremona; 

Fra Antonio Barberino, called di S. Onofrio ; 1 

Laudivio Zacchia of S. Pietro in Vincoli, called di San Sisto; 

Berlingero of S. Agostino, Gessi; 

Fabricio of S. Vincenzo in pane e perna, Verospi ; 

Francesco di S. Lorenzo in Damaso, Barberino ; 2 

Marzio di Santa Maria Nuova, Ginetti ; 

By the mercy of God Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, 
Inquisitors of the Holy Apostolic See, in the whole Christian 
Republic specially deputed against heretical depravity : 

It being the case that thou, Galileo, son of the late Vincenzio 
Galilei, a Florentine, now aged seventy, wast denounced in this 
Holy Office in 1615 : 

That thou heldest as true the false doctrine taught by many, 
that the Sun was the centre of the universe and immovable, and 
that the Earth moved, and had also a diurnal motion : That on 
this same matter thou didst hold a correspondence with certain 
German mathematicians : 3 That thou hadst caused to be printed 
certain letters entitled " On the Solar Spots," in the which thou 
didst explain the said doctrine to be true : And that, to the 

1 Antonio Barberino, the Pope's brother. He was a Capuchin. 

2 Francesco Barberino, the Pope's nephew. 

3 Welser and Kepler are alluded to. 

294 r APPENDIX. 

objections put forth to thee at various times, based on and drawn 
from Holy Scripture, thou didst answer, commenting upon and 
explaining the said Scripture after thy own fashion : And there- 
upon following was presented (to this tribunal) a copy of a writing 
in form of a letter, 1 which was said to have been written by thee 
to such an one, at one time thy disciple, in which, following the 
position of Copernicus, are contained various propositions con- 
trary to the true sense and authority of the Holy Scripture : 

This Holy Tribunal desiring to obviate the disorder and mis- 
chief which had resulted from this, and which was constantly 
increasing to the prejudice of the Holy Faith ; by order of our 
Lord (Pope) and of the most Eminent Lords Cardinals of this 
supreme and universal Inquisition, the two propositions of the 
stability of the Sun and of the motion of the Earth were by the 
qualified theologians thus adjudged : 

That the Sun is the centre of the universe and doth not move 
from his place is a proposition absurd and false in philosophy, 
and formally heretical ; being expressly contrary to Holy Writ : 
That the Earth is not the centre of the universe nor immovable, 
but that it moves, even with a diurnal motion, is likewise a prop- 
osition absurd and false in philosophy, and considered in the- 
ology ad minus erroneous in faith. 

But being willing at that time to proceed with leniency towards 
thee, it was decreed in the Sacred, Congregation held before Our 
Lord (Pope) on the 25th of February, 1616, that the most Emi- 
nent Lord Cardinal Bellarmine should order thee, that thou 
shouldst entirely leave and reject the said doctrine ; and thou 
refusing to do this, that the Commissary of the Holy Office should 
admonish thee to abandon the said doctrine, and that thou wast 
neither to teach it to others, nor to hold or defend it, to which 
precept, if thou didst not give heed, thou wast to be imprisoned : 
and in execution of the said decree, the following day in the pal- 
ace and in the presence of the said most Eminent Lord Cardinal 
Bellarmine, after having been advised and admonished benig- 
nantly by the said Lord Cardinal, thou didst receive a precept 
from the then Father Commissary of the 'Holy Office in the 
presence of a notary and witnesses, that thou shouldst entirely 
abandon the said false opinion, and for the future neither uphold 
nor teach it in any manner whatever, either orally or in writing : 
and having promised obedience, thou wast dismissed. 
1 Galileo's letter to Benedetto Castelli. 


And to the end that this pernicious doctrine might be rooted 
out and prevented from spreading, to the grave prejudice of 
Catholic truth, a decree was issued by the Sacred Congregation 
of the Index, prohibiting books which treated of the said doc- 
trine, which was declared to be false and entirely contrary to 
Holy Scripture. 

And there having lately appeared here a book printed in Flor- 
ence this past year, whose superscription showeth thyself to be 
the author, the title being : " Dialogue of Galileo Galilei on the 
Two Great Systems of the World, the Ptolemaic and the Coper- 
nican : " and the Sacred Congregation having been informed 
that in consequence of the said book the false opinion of the 
mobility of the Earth and the stability of the Sun was daily gain- 
ing ground ; the said book was diligently examined, and was 
found openly to transgress the precept which had been made to 
thee, for that thou in the -said book hadst defended the said 
already condemned opinion, which had been declared false before 
thy face : whereas thou in the said book by means of various 
subterfuges dost endeavor to persuade thyself that thou dost 
leave it undecided and merely probable. The which however is 
a most grave error, since in no way can an opinion be probable 
which has been declared and defined to be contrary to Holy 

Wherefore by Our order thou wast cited before this Holy 
Office, in which being examined upon oath, thou didst acknowl- 
edge thyself to have written and caused to be printed the said 
book. Thou didst confess that, ten or twelve years previously, 
after having received the precept above mentioned, thou didst 
begin to write the said book ; that thou didst ask for a license to 
print it, without signifying to those from whom thou didst receive 
such license, that thou hadst a precept forbidding thee to hold, 
defend, or teach in any way whatever such doctrine. 

Thou didst likewise confess, that the said book is in more 
places than one so written that the reader might form an idea 
that the arguments brought forward in favor of the false opinion 
were pronounced in such guise that by their efficacy they were 
more apt to convince than easy to be overturned ; excusing thy- 
self for having fallen into an error so alien, sayest thou, to thy 
intention, for that thou hadst written in form of a dialogue, and 


for the natural complacence with which each one doth view his 
own subtlety in showing himself more acute than the common 
herd of men in finding even for false propositions ingenious dis- 
course to make them apparently probable. 

And a convenient period having been assigned thee for thy 
defense, thou didst produce a certificate written by the hand^of 
the most Eminent Lord Cardinal Bellarmine, procured by thee, 
as thou saidst, for the purpose of defending thyself from the 
calumnies of thy enemies, who had said that thou hadst abjured 
and hadst been punished by the Holy Office. In the which 'cer- 
tificate it is written that thou hadst not abjured, neither hadst 
thou been subjected to punishment, but that only the declaration 
made by Our Lord (Pope) and published by the Sacred Congre- 
gation of the Index had been made known to thee, the which 
contains that the doctrine of the Earth's motion and of the sta- 
bility of the Sun is contrary to Holy Scripture, and may therefore 
neither be defended nor held : and that whereas in the said cer- 
tificate no mention was made of two particulars of the precept, 
to wit, docere and quovis modo, it was to be thought that in the 
course of fourteen or sixteen years thou hadst lost all remem- 
brance of it ; and that for this same reason thou hadst been silent 
respecting the precept when thou didst ask for license to print the 
said book. And all this thou saidst not to excuse thy error, but 
that it might be attributed to a vain ambition rather than to 
malicious intent. But from the said precept produced in thy 
defense, thou hast aggravated thy fault ; whereas, the said opin- 
ion being therein declared contrary to Holy Writ, thou hast 
nevertheless dared to treat of it, to defend it, and to persuade 
that it was probable ; nor doth justify thee the license which thou 
didst extort with craft and cunning, not having notified the pre- 
cept which had been given thee- 

And, as it appeared to Us that thou hadst not said the whole 
truth concerning thy intention, We judged it to be necessary to 
proceed to the rigorous examination of thee, in which (without 
prejudice to any of the things confessed by thee, or deduced 
against thee, as above, respecting thy said intention) thou 
answeredst like a good Catholic. Therefore, having seen and 
maturely considered the merits of thy case, with thy above-men- 
tioned confessions and excuses, We have adjudged against thee 
the herein-written definite sentence. 


Invoking then the Most Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 
and of His most glorious Mother Mary, ever Virgin, for this Our 
definite sentence, the which sitting pro tribunal!, by the counsel 
and opinion of the Reverend Masters of theology and doctors of 
both laws, Our Counselors, we present in these writings, in the 
cause and causes currently before Us, between the magnificent 
Carlo Sinceri, doctor of both laws, procurator fiscal of this Holy 
Office on the one part, and thou Galileo Galilei, guilty, here 
present, confessed and judged, on the other part : 

We say, pronounce, sentence, and declare, that thou, the 
said Galileo, by the things deduced during this trial, and by 
thee confessed as above, hast rendered thyself vehemently sus- 
pected of heresy by this Holy Office, that is, of having believed 
and held a doctrine which is false, and contrary to the Holy 
Scriptures, to wit : that the Sun is the centre of the universe, and 
that it does not move from east to west, and that the Earth moves 
and is not the centre of the universe : and that an opinion may be 
held and defended as probable after having been declared and 
defined as contrary to Holy Scripture ; and in consequence thou 
hast incurred all the censures and penalties of the Sacred Canons, 
and other Decrees both general and particular, against such 
offenders imposed and promulgated. From the which We are 
content that thou shouldst be absolved, if, first of all, with a sin- 
cere heart and unfeigned faith, thou dost before Us abjure, curse, 
and detest the above-mentioned errors and heresies, and any 
other error and heresy contrary to the Catholic and Apostolic 
Roman Church, after the manner that We shall require of 

And to the end that this thy grave error and transgression 
remain not entirely unpunished, and that thou mayst be more 
cautious for the future, and an example to others to abstain from 
and avoid similar offenses, We order that by a public edict the 
book of " Dialogues of Galileo Galilei " be prohibited, and We 
condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during Our will 
and pleasure ; and as a salutary penance We enjoin on thee that 
for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the 
Seven Penitential Psalms, reserving to Ourselves the faculty of 
moderating, changing, or taking from, all or part of the above- 
mentioned pains and penalties. 

And thus We say, pronounce, declare, order, condemn, and 


reserve in this and in any other better way and form which by 
right We can and ought. 

Ita pronunciamus nos Cardinalis infrascripti. 







I, Galileo Galilei, son of the late Vincenzio Galilei of Florence, 
aged seventy years, tried personally by this court, and kneeling 
before You, the most Eminent and Reverend Lords Cardinals, 
Inquisitors-General throughout the Christian Republic against 
heretical depravity, having before my eyes the Most Holy Gos- 
pels, and laying on them my own hands ; I swear that I have 
always believed, I believe now, and with God's help I will in 
future believe all which the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church 
doth hold, preach, and teach. But since I, after having been 
admonished by this Holy Office entirely to abandon the false 
opinion that the Sun was the centre of the universe and im- 
mo viable, and that the Earth was not the centre of the same and 
that it moved, and that I was neither to hold, defend, nor teach 
in any manner whatever, either orally or in writing,, the said false 
doctrine ; and after having received a notification that the said 
doctrine is contrary to Holy Writ, I did write and cause to be 
printed a book in which I treat of the said already condemned 
doctrine, and bring forward arguments of much efficacy in its 
favor, without arriving at any solution : I have been judged 
vehemently suspected of heresy, that is, of having held and 
believed that the Sun is the centre of the universe and im- 
movable, and that the Earth is not the centre of the same, and 
that it does move. 

Nevertheless, wishing to remove from the minds of your Em- 
inences and all faithful Christians this vehement suspicion reason- 
ably conceived against me, I abjure with a sincere heart and 
unfeigned faith, I curse and detest the said errors and heresies, 
and generally all and every error and sect contrary to the Holy 
Catholic Church. And I swear that for the future I will neither 
say nor assert in speaking or writing such things as may bring 


upon me similar suspicion ; and if I know any heretic, or one 
suspected of heresy, I will denounce him to this Holy Office, or 
to the Inquisitor and Ordinary of the place in which I may be. 
I also swear and promise to adopt and observe entirely all the 
penances which have been or may be by this Holy Office imposed 
on me. And if I contravene any of these said promises, protests, 
or oaths, (which God forbid !) I submit myself to all the pains 
and penalties which by the Sacred Canons and other Decrees 
general and particular are against such offenders imposed and 
promulgated. So help me God and the Holy Gospels, which I 
touch with my own hands. I, Galileo Galilei aforesaid, have 
abjured, sworn, and promised, and hold myself bound as above ; 
and in token of the truth, with my own hand have subscribed the 
present schedule of my abjuration, and have recited it word by 
word. In Rome, at the Convent della Minerva, this 22d day of 
June, 1633. 

I, GALILEO GALILEI, have abjured as 
above, with my own hand. 







.MOW n ant tt ,r,., .